Today’s Haftorah dramatically depicts the future of the world. Who is not familiar with the expression: “And a wolf shall live with a lamb” and other such images from today’s reading?
But there is one thing that glaringly jumps out in these verses: the reference to water. First, we read about the splitting of the sea that will occur in the final redemption: And G-d shall dry up the tongue of the Egyptian Sea, and He shall lift His hand over the river… and He shall beat it into seven streams. Then we read: The world will be filled with divine knowledge as the water covers the sea. And finally: we shall draw water with joy from the fountains of the salvation.
We can perhaps find the answer in the modern obsession with bottled… water.
Whenever you go to a restaurant, the first thing they ask you is: Would you like bottled water or tap water?
And, in restaurants that know what they are doing, the waiters are trained to sound condescending, making anyone who dares opt for tap water feel like a cheap child that has no taste.
The reason restaurants do this is margins; business 101. Tap water is free: it cost the restaurant nothing and they sell it for nothing, which means they lose money on the manpower it takes to offer and pour that water.
Bottled water on the other hand is a major moneymaker. A bottle of water cost the restaurant a dollar and they sell it for seven. That’s five bucks clean profit after you factor in all of the costs, storage, and manpower.
Say a restaurant turns a hundred tables per diem. If, on average, each table orders a bottle and half of bottled water, that’s a cool $750 bucks profit in that one day alone. But if all tables select instead tap water, well, that’s a major opportunity lost for the fine establishment.
This is why restaurants push bottled water over tap, and make you feel like a barbaric caveman if you shun the bottle and embrace the tap.
Within this water ritual lies a deep secret about Moshiach, when divine knowledge will saturate earth like water covers the sea, and when we shall draw water with joy from the fountains of the salvation.
Exile is like bottled water. Redemption is like water straight from the source.