Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink. Exodus 17:6
In Australia, a report outlined “a grim story” of extreme drought, heat, and fire. The account described a horrific year with only minuscule rainfall, turning parched brush into tinder. Raging fires torched the countryside. Fish died. Crops failed. All because they didn’t have a simple resource we often take for granted—water, which we all need in order to live.
Israel found itself in its own terrifying dilemma. As the people camped in the dusty, barren desert, we read this alarming line: “There was no water for the people to drink” (Exodus 17:1). The people were afraid. Their throats were dry. The sand sizzled. Their children suffered thirst. Terrified, the people “quarreled with Moses,” demanding water (v. 2). But what could Moses do? He could only go to God.
And God gave Moses odd instructions: “Take . . . the staff [and] . . . strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink” (vv. 5–6). So Moses hit the rock, and out gushed a river, plenty for the people and their cattle. That day, Israel knew that their God loved them. Their God provided abundant water.
If you’re experiencing a drought or wilderness in life, know that God is aware of it and He’s with you. Whatever your need, whatever your lack, may you find hope and refreshment in His abundant waters.
Where are the parched and barren places in your world? How can you look for and trust in God’s abundant waters?
I need Your water, God, Your provision. If You don’t help me, I don’t think I’ll make it. Will You bring me the water I need?
The Israelites were rapidly developing a reputation for complaining. At Marah, they’d grumbled about water too bitter to drink (Exodus 15:22–24). Then they complained about the lack of food (16:2–3). Now they “quarreled with Moses” about the lack of drinking water (17:2). Exasperated, Moses “cried out to the Lord” (v. 4). God’s counsel to Moses included the command to take “the staff with you with which you struck the Nile” (v. 5). The staff, which Moses also held out when the Red Sea was parted (14:21), served as a visible reminder of what God had done for the people in the past. This time, Moses struck the rock, producing water for the people. The sure cure for grumbling is to recall God’s history of faithfulness.