Surviving the Wilderness
The message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Hebrews 4:2
In the 1960s, the Kingston Trio released a song called “Desert Pete.” The ballad tells of a thirsty cowboy who is crossing the desert and finds a hand pump. Next to it, Desert Pete has left a note urging the reader not to drink the water in the jar left there but to use its contents to prime the pump.
The cowboy resists the temptation to drink and uses the water as the note instructs. In reward for his obedience, he receives an abundance of cold, satisfying water. Had he not acted in faith, he would have had only a jar of unsatisfying, warm water to drink.
This reminds me of Israel’s journey through the wilderness. When their thirst became overwhelming (Ex. 17:1–7), Moses sought the Lord. He was told to strike the rock of Horeb with his staff. Moses believed and obeyed, and water gushed from the stone.
Sadly, Israel would not consistently follow Moses’s example of faith. Ultimately, “the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed” (Heb. 4:2).
Sometimes life can seem like an arid desert. But God can quench our spiritual thirst in the most unlikely circumstances. When by faith we believe the promises of God’s Word, we can experience rivers of living water and grace for our daily needs.
Help us to place our trust in You, Lord. You are what our heart thirsts after.
Only Jesus, the Living Water, can satisfy our thirst for God.
Three days after the Israelites left Egypt, the water they brought along was depleted. Finding no drinkable water in the Desert of Shur, they grumbled against Moses, and God miraculously made bitter water into good water (Ex. 15:22–25). Soon their food supplies ran out, and they complained again. God miraculously fed them with manna and quail (16:1–36). As they approached Sinai, they complained yet again of no water (17:1–2). God had already shown them He could provide the water and food they needed. All they had to do was to trust Him! (Deut. 8:2; Ps. 81:7–8).
Consider how God has been faithful to provide for your physical needs. How has He satisfied your spiritual thirst?