Jesus Christ is the rock in the desert
Published 3:54 pm Friday, June 9, 2006
There was a rock in the desert that played a significant role in the lives of the Children of Israel as they journeyed from Egypt to Canaan. The desert was harsh - dry, hot, and barren. There were other paths to Canaan, but God set the course purposely through this desolate area to test His people.
The people were many: 600,000 men, plus women and children. If they were average families, there could have been more than two million people, plus all their livestock. Imagine a metropolitan area with a population of two million. There would be literally hundreds of acres required to accommodate them. They were probably strung out along the trail for miles.
This significant event is related in the Old Testament book of Exodus, chapter 17, verses 1-7. The people had journeyed to Rephidim (Exodus 17:1). They camped there, but there was no water to drink.
The desert saps your strength. It takes a lot of water per person to sustain the dehydrating effect of the sun, the wind, and dryness.
The people were thirsty, very thirsty (Exodus 17:3). Hot, dry conditions with no water, bawling cattle, crying kids, inquiring wives, irritable husbands and fathers all led to the obvious demand of Moses their leader, “Give us water, that we may drink” (Exodus 17:2).
Moses turned the demand to God (Exodus 17:4). God told him to take some of the leaders and travel on from Rephidim to the rock at Mt. Horeb. God said He would meet them there (Exodus 17:6).
Moses led the people in their distress through several more miles of desert until they came to a place as dry and dusty as you could imagine.
God told Moses to take the rod that he had used to strike the Nile River, to turn it to blood. God told Moses to use the rod to strike the rock in front of the people, and water would come out of the rock for the people to drink (Exodus 17:6). Moses did what God said and the water came out of the rock.
The account in Exodus is rather matter of fact about this incident, but God showcases this event in several more places in the Scriptures. In Deuteronomy, chapter 8, verse 15, they were reminded that God brought water out of the flinty rock. In Psalms, chapter 78, God said the water was in abundance like the ocean depths (v. 15). It was a river (Psalm 78:16). It was a gusher, an overflowing stream (Psalm 78:20).
When God opened the rock, the water gushed out like a fountain, became an overflowing river, and turned into a body of water like a lake or a sea. Think how much water it would take just to soak the dry desert soil so water could accumulate. It is likely as the water gushed out and the river ran, that the people and the cattle plunged in and drank their fill. There was splashing, swimming, soaking, and every imaginable joy in this great miracle of God in the middle of the wilderness.
This gusher of water, and the resulting river and lake, likely continued for days, possibly months. The people stayed at the mountain of God for a long time. Moses made two trips up the mountain to meet with God. The people built the Tabernacle in this location. It is possible that the whole time the people were there, the water flowed in abundance.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 4, that the rock in the wilderness that was gushing water was a picture of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God's provision for us. All the goodness and grace of God flow out of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The people of Israel were undeserving. They were complaining and challenging God, but God by His grace met their need.
The grace of God is still gushing out of Jesus Christ, the Rock, in our day. Jesus said in the gospel of John, chapter 7, verse 37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
Jesus Christ is the Rock!