Exodus 17:6. 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.”
The stories in the book of Exodus are physical or natural stories that reveal to us greater spiritual or supernatural realities. And there is none greater than this short story we stumble upon in Exodus 17. The Hebrews have come through the Red Sea and are moving through the wilderness toward Mount Sinai where they will worship and serve Yahweh.
But once again, there’s no water.
Exodus 17:2. 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?”
The quarreling against Moses is bad enough, but Moses also accuses them of testing the Lord. This word “test” is a legal term. They are bringing charges against God of covenant unfaithfulness. They want to put God on trial.
And a trial is what they will get. The People v God. Right here in the middle of the desert. If you love courtroom drama buckle up.
Now what should happen here is that God turns the tables, puts these rebellious Hebrews on trial, and then judges them into oblivion. Maybe a giant lightning bolt, or the earth opening up, or snakes, or a plague. But instead God does something no one could have ever seen coming.
I will stand before you on the rock at Horeb.
Yahweh stands on the rock. He is taking the witness stand as the defendant. He’s allowing himself to be judged.
And then God speaks these most gracious of words to Moses – you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.
This isn’t just a great miracle where God gives the people water from a dry rock. Far more is happening here. God is giving us a picture of our salvation. God on the rock means that the rock now represents God himself. God isn’t just saying, “strike the rock.” He’s saying, “strike me! And out will flow life giving water.”
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul will tell us that Christ is the rock that was stricken for us (1 Cor. 10:1-5). Jesus allowed himself to put on trial in our place. He allowed himself to be accused, beaten, and even crucified for us. Why? To answer the deepest question, and the greatest fear of our hearts. What is that question? What is that fear? Look at how this story ends:
Exodus 17: 7. And [Moses] called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
This is the same question that every one of us has asked. “Is God with me or not? Is God good? Is he for us or against us?”
How does God answer this cry of our hearts? He says look at the rock that was struck for you. Look at Christ. Look at the cross. And drink. Drink the living water today. The water that flowed from the very life and body of a God who would allow himself to feel what you are feeling, and to suffer what you are suffering.
Remember “to live is Christ” is a journey through the wilderness. This life will make you thirsty along the way. It will test your desires. It will make you ask, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
In those moments look at the rock, Christ Jesus. Strike the rock. Water will flow out. Life will be yours. Drink and live. Let it free you from all that would destroy your soul. Let it free you to trust in Jesus alone as your satisfaction. Then let that same water of life flow out of you. The water of the crucified one. His life of sacrifice welling up to eternal life.
John 4:14. 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.”
What have you been “thirsty” for lately?
You in Christ
How can the eternal love of Christ satisfy that thirst today?
Christ in you
Where can Christ’s living water flow out of you so that others might drink?
Playlist: Christ Our Rock
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