Though it was soon after witnessing the incredible miracle of parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites started to gumble as they faced the issues of the basic need to eat.
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” (Exodus 15:22-24, NIV).
Moses was aware of this problem and cried out to the Lord. The Scripture records that then the water became fit to drink.
Yet the miracle did not simply end there. The Israelites came to realize that the Lord had prepared for them an amazing place called Elim.
Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water (Exodus 15:27, NIV).
In a magnificent canyon across the Red Sea, 6km away from Tayeb Esm Valley, Elim stands with the unusual presence of palm trees as well as the 12 wells. The numerous oases surrounded by deep canyons and the red mountain must have provided the best natural resting place for the tired souls who had travelled in the wilderness.
Now that the Israelites did not have to worry about being chased after by the Egyptian army, they decided to stay ins this place for good 14 days. The basis for this reverse-counting calculation of the length of the stay was Exodus 16:1, which states, “The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt.”