Ruby is a freelance writer from the Philippines. Besides writing, she enjoys gardening and studying the Scripture.
The Story as the Author Moses Records It
Water from the Rock
17 At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. 2 So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”
3 But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”
5 The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
7 Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” (Exodus 17:1-7, NLT).
God's People Complain to Moses
Complaints are a normal reaction of people when faced with a crisis. Here in this story, the Israelites--God's own people, also complained. Remember, these Israelites have experienced God's divine presence firsthand. Yet, still, we find them here raising complaints. So, at the Lord's command, the Israelites who just left the Wilderness of Sin at the Lord's traveled from one place to another. Arriving at Rephidim, they discovered that they could not find any water to drink. Normally, they went to their leader Moses to complain. They clamored, "Give us water to drink" (V. 2).
Moses Cries Out to God
It's interesting to note that Moses, the leader goes to no one else when he is faced with a problem in His life. He simply calls on God like talking to his best friend. Here, Moses asks God one question and a declaration or conclusion:
"What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!" (V. 4).
Question 1: What should I do with these people? This question as I see it, reveals three important things in Moses. First, it shows us that Moses realizes his utter helplessness. Second, this question reveals his humility. Third, the question tells us that Moses is dependent on God and needs him in his leadership.
When we realize that we are nothing and are helpless without God, then, God is always ready to step in and rescue us from our crisis. Our helplessness is God's opportunity to show His greatness that we may understand and know Him better.
God Replies to Moses
God said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink” (V. 5-6).
Moses Obeys God
Obedience is what God expects from us. When God commands us to do something, our willing obedience is what He all needs from us. When we come to God for help, God also expects us to cooperate with what He tells us to do. Moses as a leader did this. After calling on God for help and learned what God told Him, he immediately did as He was told.
Moses Names the Place
Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD here with us or not?”(V. 7).
Naming objects or people in order to remember something in reference to the action or event is a beautiful practice. As Christians, we need to remember God's goodness in our lives. We need to refresh our memories with the things He has done for us and what He has been doing for us. Naming something in order to help you recall the act of God's goodness is just the right thing to do. It is an act that is biblically sound. It is a way of recalling God's leading, His goodness, and grace to us His children.
Final Thoughts to Reflect On
Dear friend, when you are in a crisis and you do not know just what to do in life, the best option you can do is, cry out to God. Pray to Him earnestly. Tell Him of your worries and burdens. Then, the Lord will tell you what to do. In fact, He will show you how to do it exactly, as He did to Moses.
"5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take" (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT).
© 2022 Ruby Campos