Exodus 17

Water from a Rock

17 The whole Israelite community left the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there was no water there for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”

But Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”

But the people were very thirsty for water. So they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Was it to kill us, our children and our farm animals with thirst?”

So Moses cried to the Lord, “What can I do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me with stones.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Go ahead of the people of Israel. And take some of the elders of Israel with you. Carry with you the walking stick that you used to strike the Nile River. Now go! I will stand in front of you on a rock at Mount Sinai. Hit that rock with the stick, and water will come out of it. Then the people can drink.” Moses did these things as the elders of Israel watched. Moses named that place Massah because the Israelites tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord with us or not?” He also named it Meribah because they quarreled.

water from rock

“Oh those rebellious Israelites!” I look at this sentence and want to find a rock myself to crawl under. Why? Well, maybe because I’ve said this myself about one hundred times until I find myself acting just like them. You mean I was being judgmental? Sadly, probably so; however, I think it is more prideful. 

It is so easy to look at the collective lives of the Israelites, their journey, their purpose, and their lessons on this side of the Bible and impose our first world judgments. I’m here to tell you…this amazing story was not providentially entered into the Bible for your personal opinions or judgments but to learn how we, in fact, live parallel lives.

Just this week, I found myself grumbling and in a melancholy mood. Right the midst of this, God provided an opportunity for me to not only pray with a complete stranger but to also encourage her. You see, I was the Israelite; this stranger was the water from the rock.

Let me take you a little deeper. In the passage above, we cannot miss the fact that the Israelites traveled from place to place as the Lord commanded. Oh I see! They literally didn’t go to the next place unless the Lord told them to go.

[Don’t miss this!] So, if the Lord prepares the way, He will give you everything you need, but it might not be in the form you are used to seeing; it might not even be in the quantity you are used to receiving. Can we even say…it might not be in the same comfort you are used to living. But rest assured. He WILL provide if He tells you to go!

When the Israelites made it to their next destination, their flesh kicked in; they were thirsty. Who could blame them? However, it’s how they went about asking for water that makes this an unwarranted blessing. Instead of believing and demonstrating deep faith, they complained. Not only did they complain, but they even questioned Moses for taking them out of captivity in the first place.

The whole point of the story is that God was well prepared to satisfy their needs because the rocks were at the ready!! However, the Israelites were too far into their fleshly grumbling to even comprehend that God could possibly provide fresh water by means of rocks.

Dear friends, are you standing in the desert surrounded by awaiting rocks? To bring you back to my personal story, I found myself grumbling over being inconvenienced; I will tell you this is an ugly thorn from the root of pride. I had no idea that I was standing, no completely surrounded, by rocks just waiting to be split open by the Holy Spirit and to be poured out on me and a complete stranger.

When the Holy Spirit’s waters rushed out and poured over us during that prayer, I knew I was unworthy but thankful beyond words for grace that covers a multitude of sin. I was immediately reminded by God that He continues to use us despite our selfishness and pride. I am thankful that I remained available to the Holy Spirit.

Question: Where do you see yourself today?

  1. Are you in the desert grumbling unaware of the blessings surrounding you?
  2. What are you exactly thirsty for?
  3. Have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s waters rushing over you

Challenge: I know you’re thirsty! But stop grumbling and humbly ask God to give you His living water and to use you each and every day!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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