VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2003 ( The Exodus reminds Christians that the Lord who led Israel through the Red Sea also leads us by baptism to freedom from our sins, says John Paul II.

That was part of the Pope's message today as he dedicated his address at the general audience to a reflection on Psalm 113A(114), a poetic composition that recalls the wonders wrought by the Lord in favor of the Israelites during their departure from Egypt.

Together with the Psalmist, the Pontiff recalled unexpected events such as the crossing of the Red Sea, when the waters parted so that the people of Israel could escape from Pharaoh's persecution.

The Holy Father mentioned other expressions of God's love, as, for example, the water that gushed from the rock at Meribah, as told in Exodus 17:1-7.

"God transforms the rock into a spring of water, which becomes like a lake: Deep down in this prodigy is his paternal concern in his meetings with the people," John Paul II said, drawing lessons from the Psalm.

"The gesture acquired a symbolic meaning: It is the sign of the saving love of the Lord who sustains and regenerates humanity while it advances in the desert of history," he explained.

The greatest gesture of love that God has manifested in history, the Pope continued, was when he gave his Son for the salvation of the world, making his blood a "spiritual drink" for people.

With this meditation, John Paul II continued with a series of catecheses on the liturgy of vespers. These papal addresses may be read in the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.