In this week’s Torah portion, we read a passage which is often referred to as “The Song at the Well.” This song was sung by the Israelites upon the completion of their forty-years of wandering in the wilderness before entering the Land of Israel.
Through this brief song [see Numbers 21:17-20], the Israelites expressed their gratitude to God for providing them with a constant source of water through this well in the middle of the desert. In many ways, the “Song at the Well,” might be considered as the flip side of “The Song of the Sea,” where the Israelites celebrated their freedom and marked the beginning of their wanderings after their exodus from Egypt.
These ancestral songs reflect a truth that is as ancient as our existence. Sometimes, the events of life inspire us to express ourselves in song. Sometime, the beauty of the world inspires the soul to sing out in praise and gratitude.
As it was for our ancestors, so too it was for Katherine Lee Bates who was inspired to compose America the Beautiful in 1893 as she gazed upon the glorious views from the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. These glorious vistas continue to inspire countless visitors today, and as my family enjoyed our time a Pikes Peak this past week, we too felt a desire to sing out songs of praise and joy.
Whether it is from the top of a mountain or in the middle of the wilderness of Houston, we are constantly surrounded by moments of inspiration. It does not take a poet to be able to see God’s handiwork around us. We need only open our eyes to God’s glory and open our mouths to sing God’s praises.