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“The whole Israelite community…camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’
Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?’
But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?’
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, ‘What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.’
The LORD answered Moses, ‘Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 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.’ So Moses did this…And he called the place Massah and Meribah [meaning ‘testing’ and ‘quarreling’ respectively] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?'” (Exodus 17:1-7)
During the Israelites’ desert wanderings, God miraculously provided water from a rock for them twice (Exodus 17:1-7, Numbers 20:1-13). In the face of the most impossible and desperate situations, God provided for their most fundamental physical need: water.
However, this water had a higher spiritual meaning. We are told the Israelites “…drank from the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Jesus said, “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
Jesus is all we need. If we believe in him we have eternal life. (See “Message“). Jesus is the only one who satisfies our deepest longings and all our needs.
Sometimes, however, we drift away from Jesus and rely on other things to quench our thirst. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
But just as Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4:4-42), if we are not drinking of him, then we will be in a perpetual struggle to satisfy our thirst, for only Jesus fully meets our need.
“This is what the LORD says:
‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
‘But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)