The Smitten Rock - Exodus 17

The Smitten Rock

Exodus 17:1-16

The Lord knew that the children of Israel, who had been delivered out of Egypt, needed His direction and provision in the wilderness.  There wasn't any way that the Jewish people could have made it on their own.  He promised to lead them by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire.  See Exodus 13:21, 22.  Everywhere they went the Lord went before them.

He led them into the Wilderness of Shur to a place called Marah, where there wasn't any drinkable water.  But God demonstrated His miraculous power in making the bitter waters sweet.  Their next challenge came in the Wilderness of Sin, where the Israelites complained about a lack of food.  God came through again, providing an abundance of quail and manna. 

Now we find them in Rephidim, where once again "there was no water for the people to drink."  They were there "according to the commandment of the Lord."  All that they had to do was look up at the pillars to realize the presence of God with them.

Instead, "the people contended with Moses, and said, 'Give us water, that we may drink.'"  It's true that they were thirsty.  They tempted God.  Moses "called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, 'Is the Lord among us or not?'"  (Massah means tempted; Meribah means contention.)  But when would they ever learn to trust the Lord?  A frustrated Moses cried out, "What shall I do with this people?  They are almost ready to stone me."

Once again the Lord answered, "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink."  Moses obeyed, and struck the rock.  The water flowed and quenched the thirst of the people.

The smitten rock is an Old Testament illustration of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul wrote, "And all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ."  1 Corinthians 10:4.  He was smitten of God upon the cross, where He died for us.  From this Rock, which was struck on our behalf, flows a healing stream of living water.  Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."  John 4:14.  "If anyone thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink."  John 7:37.


Heavenly Father, the well never runs dry.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit, whom You have given to those who believe.  Through us lead others to the Rock.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


Handling Stress and Burnout - Exodus 18


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
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