Striking the Rock

Striking the Rock

When my pastor taught on 1 Corinthians chapter 10, something he said opened my eyes to a truth that I had previously missed. It came while studying a verse in which Paul summarized the experience of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness.

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

In Exodus 17, the Israelites had grown anxious because they were thirsty. God instructed Moses to strike a certain rock which would cause water to flow from this rock to satisfy the thirst of the people. Decades later, the children of those Israelites find themselves in the same situation. In Numbers 20, the Lord again gives instructions to Moses on how to bring forth water from a rock. This time, the instructions were for Moses to speak to a certain rock to bring forth the water. Moses instead strikes the rock twice. For the disobedience of striking the rock instead of speaking to it, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

I had always thought this was a harsh punishment for a simple mistake. However, my pastor explained that the rock was a symbolic representation of Jesus. This was actually a very important picture God was drawing of the plan for salvation. Jesus was only to be struck once - in the crucifixion. From that point on, our spoken words of prayer were enough to cause an abundant stream of life-giving water to flow from His saving grace.

This interesting lesson is reaffirmed in the Gospel of John. Here, Jesus described himself in the same language when speaking to the women at the well in Samaria.

Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but 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 4:13-14 (NKJV)

I am very grateful that I have experienced this living water. I want to be so full of gratitude that I share the good news of this life-giving water with as many others as possible while there is still time.