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Water from the Rock

Are there hard and dry places in your life? Have you ever felt "thirsty" enough to cry out to God? If so, you certainly aren't the first one to do so. Do you know that it is in the heart of God to satisfy your thirst and longing with Himself?

In the Bible book of Judges (15:18), it says of the mighty Samson, after a victory over the Philistines: "Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord..."

In verse 19, it says: "Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived."

Moses Struck the Rock

Earlier in Scripture, there are other accounts in which Moses "struck the rock" and water flowed out.

The first passage is from Exodus 17. The Israelites were grumbling as they traveled from the Desert of Sin (what a poignant name), and camped at Rephidim, because they were thirsty. So Moses cried out to the Lord.

God had Moses take the staff with which he had struck the Nile (during the plagues, recorded in Exodus chapter 7 and beyond). The Lord said: "I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." (Exodus 17:6-7a) Moses did as he was commanded....

Moses Misses the Mark

Interestingly enough, there is another account in Numbers 20, in which water again comes from the rock.

This time, the people were in Kadesh, and again quarreled with Moses, and Aaron because they had no water to drink.

"Moses and Aaron went to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, 'Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.' "

So Moses took the staff from the Lord's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, 'Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?' Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.' " (Numbers 20:6-12)

I have long wondered why Moses' actions deserved such a harsh response (because of the way he did this, he was not allowed to go over to the Promised Land). Surely, I do not fully understand God's ways ... yet after considering these passages, some clues may be disclosed.

Obviously, Moses and Aaron did not fully obey what God had told them to do. He told them to speak to the rock. They struck it. Also, their words as they struck it may have implied that they were bringing forth the water ("...must we bring you water out of this rock?")

After reading both of these sections, I wonder if perhaps Moses may have been recalling the last time God had done such a miracle, and just decided to do the same thing this time (even though God's current instructions were slightly different). Sometimes God seems to do things in fresh and new ways, not necessarily desiring us to just do it the same way every time ... So it causes me to wonder....

I find it interesting and gracious that even though Moses and Aaron were not strictly obedient, God still allowed the water to gush out to fill the needs of the People.

The Rock of Our Salvation

As interesting as these miracles are, the symbolism of these events grips my attention even more. The Bible frequently refers to Jesus as a Rock. The Rock of our Salvation, the "stumbling stone", the "corner stone", etc.

And surely the Scriptures allude to the fact that He would be "struck". Two of the most beautiful prophetic words about such "striking" are found in the "Minor Prophets" of the Old Testament.

"They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod."
(Micah 5:1b)

"Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones."
(Zechariah 13:7b)

More symbolism comes to light when considering that the very staff with which Moses struck the "rock" in both instances, was the same staff he used to strike the Nile "and all the water was changed into blood." (Exodus 7:22b)

Funny how perhaps Jesus' first public miracle was changing water into wine. Also, when his mother implied that He might work such a miracle, His response was "My time has not yet come." (John 2:4b)

And during the last supper, Jesus referred to the wine as His "blood of the covenant", and elsewhere told His followers they would need to drink His blood.

...And how He told the "woman at the well" that He would give her "living water" (John 4:10).

Do you get the imagery? The Rock has been struck, water has flowed out, that water has been changed to wine, that wine is the New Covenant in His precious blood.

"He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers."

"When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly."
(Psalm 78:15-16, 20a)

Do you realize that God's desire is to cause water to flow from the Rock into your life ... He wants His very blood to flow in your veins. Wow, what an honor and privilege. Seek Him and you will find Him. Ask Him for that Living Water, and He will fill your well to overflowing.

...And not only that. He actually says (in Psalm 81:16b), that if His people "...would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways..." (Psalm 81:13b) "...with honey from the rock I would satisfy you." (Psalm 81:16b).

June 22, 2004

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