“Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.” Gen. 1:6-7
Through Moses, God is recounting creation, specifically the creation of the sky (the space between the waters) and the sea below, and at the time, whatever water was above, some say this would be the clouds. But the phrase when read by itself – “separate the waters from the waters” – conjures up familiar imagery, that of a story to happen in the future. But even before we get that far, take note of the river in Eden; it starts as one river, but divides into four rivers (Gen. 2:10). In effect, God separated water from water.
The future story I am referring to is the story of the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14. Pharaoh’s army was in pursuit of the Israelites who had nowhere to run, God told Moses to lift up his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea and divide it. In effect, God again “separated the waters from the waters”, this time to save the Israelites.
Moses’ name is generally believed to mean either “Drawn out of the water” or “One who draws out of the water.” In any case, both are true, as we see in the story of his birth he is drawn out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter; and later as mentioned above, he brings his people Israel through the Red Sea, drawing them ‘out of the water’.