Water from the Rock – Exodus 17

We all need water.  Clean, drinkable water is essential for daily living, and God knows very well that we need it.

As the Israelites followed Moses into the desert, it quickly became apparent that there was not sufficient water around to keep the multitude alive.

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?” Exodus 17:2 ESV

Here was a serious problem.  They had traveled too far from drinking water with too many people needing it to survive.  Moses quickly found himself to blame in the eyes of the people, and it was not a comfortable place to be.  Yet, God had permitted this new crisis to unfold, allowing fear to fill the hearts of the people and letting them pour out their frustrations upon Moses, in return.

Poor Moses!  Nobody in the know ever truthfully says that following the Lord is easy.  But it is worth it!

Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord heard his cry, just as He hears our cries today.

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.  Exodus 17:6 ESV

Moses struck the rock, and water miraculously poured out, providing for all the needs of the people.

The Israelites desperately needed water to physically survive, and the Lord gave them the water they needed.  As noted earlier, He always provided everything they needed to survive, not only for that one day, but for the next forty years.

Many hundreds of years later, the Messiah, Jesus, walked near a plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph.  There was a water well here, and Jesus was thirsty from his journey.  It was mid-day, and a woman was there drawing water from the well. 

Jesus asked the woman to draw some water for Him to drink, to refresh him on his journey.  She told Jesus that she was surprised that He even spoke to her, because she was a Samaritan woman, and Jewish people in that day did not normally speak to Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10 ESV

The woman was confused.  She was the one with the water bucket, and Jesus was offering to give her water?  And what was this “living water”?

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14 ESV

Water can keep us alive for a day or two, but here Jesus was talking about a special “water” that can keep us alive for eternity!  Though not fully understanding, the woman liked the sound of this, reasoning that she would not have to come back to the well to lug water around anymore.  She did not laugh Jesus off, but instead asked Him to give her this living water.  She had a kernel of child-like faith.

Jesus asked the woman to go call her husband.  He did this knowing that she was not married to the man she was living with, and that she had in fact been married five times before.  The woman was astounded that this stranger, Jesus, knew about her history.  But perhaps she was even more astounded that He was not condemning her, but offering her the “living water” of eternal life, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus revealed to the woman that He was the Messiah, the coming King who would reign on the throne of King David forever.

In her joy and discovery, the woman left her water bucket, got up and ran into town to share the message that Jesus was at the well, and to hurry to come and see for themselves.  He knew everything she had ever done, she said.  Could this indeed be the Christ, the coming Messiah, foretold in the scriptures?

Going back again to Moses in the desert with the Israelites, long before even the first king of Israel had come on the scene, God provided fresh water for the children of Israel.  With the water crisis averted, Moses then had a chance to reflect on all his experiences.  Could God be trusted, even in the most challenging and difficult trials? The answer would have to be yes. Interestingly, in using Moses to provide the water, God also gave him favor and demonstrated Moses’ authority and leadership in the people’s eyes. 

Whenever we are faced with a crisis, God becomes the focus and the object of our prayers.  May He use all the challenges that surround us today to make us more dependent upon Him, and more aware of His presence, power and love for us as He safely brings us through each and every trial to His glory.


What challenges lie before you today?  Are they insurmountable without God?  Can you recall a time when God brought you through a similar situation in the past?

The hymn Amazing Grace was written by John Newton in 1772.  There is a line in it that goes, “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, ‘Tis grace has brought me safe this far and grace shall lead me home”.

I have leaned upon this line many times in my own life, and it always remains true.  Through every challenge I find myself in, God’s grace has always brought me safely through, just as He has promised.  He said that He would never leave us nor forsake us.  Jesus is the living water, there for each of us, each and every day.  Have you reached out to Him today?

 and all (in the desert with Moses) drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4 ESV

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