Living Water From The Rock

By Shawn Tomlin

Thirst. Deep thirst. Not many of us have experienced that here in the states. We are blessed to live in a country with plenty to drink. Many, if not all of us, take this for granted. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, war are fought over water sources. Bottom line, if we are to live, we need water. The Israelites experienced that deep thirst for water and that thirst is what we will be discussing this week.

In Exodus 17:1-7 we read the story of water from the rock. As the Israelites moved around the wilderness, they became thirsty, they didn’t have any water, and began to doubt God and complained to Moses. Moses, having faith, and knowing that God wouldn’t let them perish, asked them in verse 2 “Why are you testing the LORD?” Even after witnessing the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, seeing the pillar of cloud and fire, having water sweetened at Marah, and being supplied with manna and quail for food, they doubted and complained rather than having faith that God would provide for them.

The LORD responds to Moses and says in verses 5 and 6, “Go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take the staff you struck the Nile with you and go. I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” This response to Moses by God is what I want to focus on.


The water from the rock was a shadow of Christ and His work for us. He stood before us, the Father struck Him with His wrath, the wrath we deserved, and from the Rock flows living water


God begins by telling Moses to take his staff with him. This staff was the staff that YHWH used through Moses to deliver His wrath out upon the Egyptians through the 10 plagues. Keep that in mind. God was sure to tell Moses that He would stand on the rock at Horeb. Moses was to strike the rock with his staff and water would flow from it. The people would drink and their life would be restored and sustained.

In order for Moses to strike the rock at Horeb, in a sense, he would have to strike God as well since He was standing on that very rock. The staff with which YHWH delivered His wrath would strike the One who stood on the rock, and living water, spring water, would flow from it. This story is dripping with gospel hope.

Jesus, in John 4:10, says to the Samaritan woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” The water from the rock was a shadow of Christ and His work for us. He stood before us, the Father struck Him with His wrath, the wrath we deserved, and from the Rock flows living water. Paul spoke of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4 when he said, “and they all drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.” Psalm 78:35 also says, “They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their Redeemer.” Christ is the source of our living water, the source of our life. As we are called by gospel, He will “lead us beside quiet waters” as Psalm 23 puts it. The Father gives the gift of life in His Son, Jesus Christ. 
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you,

And give you peace.” 



Lee Jones