Water from the Rock
1All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Exodus 17:1-7 ESV
The Israelites were on a journey led by the Lord…they “moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord…” (v 1)
Called by God and walking in His Will and Guidance. Their journey leads them to what they can only perceive as a place of destitution… a place where there is no water; where they are overwhelmed with anxiety: “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (v 3)
There is no trust; no confidence evidenced here. There is no gratitude and surety. There is fear, questioning, grumbling. The press of hardship, the pain of the flesh, the fear for life…it strips their faith and trust.
And I wonder:
Why didn’t they just ask the Lord to provide?
Why didn’t they just wait on Him and trust as they had seen His miraculous Hand again and again?
Because they didn’t know their good Father?
Because they didn’t trust His Shepherd, Moses?
Why didn’t Moses reassure the people that the Lord would provide?
Why didn’t he ask? He goes to the Lord with their complaints and frustration. There is much I ponder.
I wonder: Because the Old Testament heart had no inner circumcision, regeneration? They had signs and wonders. They were continually called to remember. They were eye witnesses to larger than life miracles. They were just miraculously saved and provided for as God parted the Red Sea.
When they got to a place the Lord led them to… and faced hardship- they: tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (v 7)
And I watch how the Lord provides… with surety and power, with a miraculous sign and wonder- He provides water from the rock at the stroke of Moses’ staff. There is no rebuke. There is provision.
Our family has been going through a trial of many illnesses. January. Half of February. Now March. And not just hard illness, but now it is Tax Season(husband and Daddy is a CPA). Hard Illness and Tax Season is a horrible combination. Truly. We are still caught in the throes of the most recent, dramatic, miserable one. At times, I have been completely beside myself. Nightmares. Heart Pounding. Dramatic eruptions from sweet children. It is hard. In reality, it could be worse. In reality, it could also be better. When I read this passage, I could only see myself and how often I too question the Lord’s guidance when I am walking through a hard land, a hard place. Indeed, all the illness has caused me to attempt to reflect… to attempt to redesign the structure of our lives
( as I suffer in misery with sick ones)… with little impact and actual effect. I have questioned our choices, our routines. I have wondered if we are walking in His will. I begin, in my heart, to doubt and question so many secret areas. Has He led us at all?
I can ask the same questions of myself that I asked of the Israelites above… Why do I doubt when I have the eternal crucifixion and resurrection of my Lord forever declaring God’s miraculous saving Love? His favorable heart is forever toward me in Christ.
There is so much in this passage… but for me, right now…I pray that rather than question if the Lord is with me in this place, rather than question if He has led me at all!…,
O Lord, help me to ask! O Lord, let me be so very aware that Christ is Present in me.
God, help me to be of good courage and walk by faith and not by sight. When I walk by sight, I respond just like the Israelites- drowning in a marsh of fear, anxiety, and distress. Help me, O Lord. I am not like the Israelites because I have the new creation heart. I must take courage and look up.
During one of the most harrowing days, during a torturous drive, I opened my mouth and cried out to God. One very sick child did markedly improve from that point on and we avoided the ER trip that might have been needed. In some ways, I also respond like Moses. Led to the brink of trouble, when it is absolutely beyond my ability to bear, finally I cry to the Lord.
O Lord, I need Your water from the rock. Have mercy on me, a sinner.
2 Corinthians 2:
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ESV