Saturday 29th August 2020 Water from the Rock
Exodus 17: 1-7
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’
Some of us might liken the last few months to a time of wandering in the wilderness. We have felt adrift, unsure of our direction, lost without our routines, challenged by how we related to each other with newish technology and changing definitions of “community.” We might even feel this a time of testing-”massah.” “Where is God?” Some of us might have even been quarrelling-”meribah.” “Why God?”
A way through the wilderness may be before us, but we don’t trust the way. How can this be God’s way for us? We continue to question, to quarrel, to wander.
But this is a story of God’s faithfulness. Despite the blindness of the people of God, God is among them. God is not a long way ahead, waiting for them to catch up. God is not behind them pushing them forward. God is among them. God is among us. We may question, quarrel, and wander, but God is still here. We may self-isolate. We may work in a demanding environment. We may worship in different ways, but God is among us. Our struggles may cause us to lose sight of God’s presence.
And not only is God present. God is providing. How has God sustained you over the past few months? What gifts might you have overlooked due to the stress of living through a pandemic? Where is God with you as you walk through the valley of loss? Maybe even now we cannot see God’s presence. Maybe it is hard to identify God’s provision, but this story confirms God is present and providing for us.
We pause to catch a glimpse of that provision and presence today.
Life-giving God, we are still. Forgive us for forgetting to look for your presence among us. Help us be quiet enough to see you. Help us let go of our panic and remember that you provide us what we need for this day. Help us trust your provision for tomorrow. Life-giving God, you reveal yourself as love. Help us rest in love and act in love this day. Amen.