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 the Lord leading Moses into the desert, it quickly became apparent that there was not sufficient water around to keep such a multitude of people 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)

It was a serious problem.  Having traveled far from obvious sources of drinking water, supplies were dwindling and Moses found himself to blame in the peoples’ eyes. It was not a comfortable place to be. Fear filled their hearts and they heaped their frustrations upon Moses. Poor man!  Nobody ever truthfully claimed that following the Lord is easy – it is just very worth it!

But God had permitted this crisis to unfold. It was His sovereign will and He had His reason – to build their faith and trust in Him.

Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord heard his cry, just as He hears our cries today. There Moses learned God’s answer to his plea:

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 enough to more than satisfy the needs of the people.

The Israelites had a desperate need for their physical survival, and the Lord gave them exactly what they required.  In fact, the Lord would faithfully provide everything they needed, not just on that day, but every day for the next forty years. This is a model for us, as well, for both our physical needs and our spiritual ones.

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

Jesus asked the woman to draw some water for Him to drink, for refreshment from His travels.  She told Jesus that she was surprised that He even spoke to her as 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 here 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 keeps us alive for a season, but Jesus was talking about a different kind of “water”, His Holy Spirit, who lives within us and keeps us alive through eternity!  Though not fully understanding, the woman liked the sound of this, reasoning that at least she would not have to come back to the well to lug water around. After hearing more from Jesus, she had a kernel of child-like faith, and believed in Him as Messiah, the Son of God.

With his own water crisis averted, Moses then had a chance to reflect upon his experiences.  Could God be trusted, even in the most challenging and difficult of trials? The answer was and is yes. Interestingly, in using Moses to provide the water, God also granted him favor and reinforced Moses’ authority of leadership in the peoples’ eyes. 

Whenever we believers are faced with a crisis, God becomes our focus and the object of our prayers.  He has promised to deliver us through all the challenges that surround us as we depend upon Him with faith in His presence, His power and His love. He will bring us safely through with Him to glory.


What challenges are before you today?

Let us pray:

Lord, we come to You to ask Your deliverance and protection for the trials that face us today. Thank you for Your ongoing blessings that You have showered us with. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The hymn Amazing Grace was written by John Newton in 1772.  One line in it 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.  God has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Jesus is the living water, there for each of us to partake, each and every day. 

 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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