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October 2006 

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Woman, water and life



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Woman, water and life
mère de Moïse Three women: Moses' mother did not drown him as ordered by Pharaoh, she hid him and left him under the protection of the river for a better future;  
Miriam, Moses' sister, she watched him going along the river to see what would become of him; finally Pharaoh's daughter, she was taking a swim when she saw the child, had pity for him, saved him and gave him the name of "Moses" which means "I took him out of the waters".

When the Hebrews fled Egypt, with its bitterness, and when the Egyptians were swallowed into the waters, Miriam went out with all the women, playing tambourine: " Acclaim to the Lord, He has done marvellous things" (Ex. 15, 20, 21).

Miriam is a prophet because she resists to the discouragement of many, and can go where there is life. A protester, she will not be lenient with her brother: " God spoke to us as he did to you!" (Nb, 12, 2). She became leprous for her audacity, "white as snow" (Nb. 12, 10) and being expelled for seven days, "the people did not leave until she had again took her place among them".

All major events of Miriam's life were associated with water. A tradition relates that a well, "Miriam's well", was following the people in the desert. At Miriam's death the well disappeared. She seemed to have taken with her the sign that accompanied her during her life. 

Myriam, soeur de Moïse

At his sister's death Moses seemed to take conscience of what Miriam's life meant for the people. If water was running at will to quench their thirst, perhaps it was because during her seven days of confinement, she had a renewed relationship with God. God was present among His people like a spurting spring.

prophétesse It is probably for all these reasons that the first Christians saw Miriam as a figure of Mary, mother of Jesus, the new Moses.