Water from Rock – Exodus 17:1-7
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” 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 complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
What does the passage say?
V. 1-3 The Israelites are traveling through the wilderness and arrive at a desert named ‘Sin.’ Not the sin we are familiar. The people could not find any water to drink and out of their disparity, they come to Moses and quarrel. They said, “Why did you take us from Egypt and drag us out here with our children and animals to die of thirst?” (v. 3 The Message)
V. 4-7 Now Moses turns to God and asks for help. Instead of blaming God for this situation, unlike the Israelites, Moses asks for guidance. God tells Moses to hit the rock with the staff he used to tap the Nile river, and water springs from a rock. Moses calls this place ‘Massah (test)’ and ‘Meribah (Quarrel).’
What does this mean to me/us
Water is an essential element we need for survival. However, this doesn’t justify the action of the Israelites.
The way they approached God was through quarreling and blaming. The Israelites always reacted to situations in this manner. When the Egyptian Army was chasing them, they quarrel by saying, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Exodus 14:10 NRSV)
They did it again in front of Marrah. They found out there was only bitter water for them to drink and the Bible says, “And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” (Exodus 15:24 NRSV)
On the other hand, Moses always asks for guidance instead of complaining. Instead of complaining why God put him in this situation, Moses cried out and said, ‘Lord, you put me here, let me know what to do.’ He continually asked for guidance, since God called him to this place.
Are you a complainer? or a person asking for guidance?
What does this MEAN to you?
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