The Wilderness Wanderer - Week One: "Water From a Rock"

Today, we are launching an October sermon series entitled "The Wilderness Wanderer: Lessons from the Life of Moses." 

We are exploring some key texts from the life of Moses. We’ll learn what it means to trust God, live in faith, and journey toward God’s purposes.  

To start this series, we will focus on how God can heal our fractured relationships when we feel they are beyond healing.  

The story we’re exploring involves a desert, angry, thirsty people, and a leader without answers.  

Every single one of us has been at a place where we find ourselves in crisis over something that has been said or done to jeopardize a relationship.  

Here are some tips on what not to say. 

Worst things to say to a wife/girlfriend: 

You ate that whole thing?
You're right; Heather did look hot tonight.
Calm down. (Also, Relax)
You should smile more. 
You look tired.
Let me explain it better; I don't think you understand. 
You sound like your mother. 

Worst things to say to a husband/boyfriend: 

Grow up. 
That's not the right way. 
Are you sure you can afford that?
My ex was a... Navy Seal, Pro Football Player, Millionaire... 
I don't care, you decide...
Does this make me look fat?
My mom thinks we should... 
Forget it; I'll take care of it. 
I'm fine. 

But there are more serious moments when we know that whatever has happened--either something we have said or done or something that has been done to us has severely wounded our relationships with others. 

The moment when you feel like you have done something to put your relationships in jeopardy is one of the most sickening and heartbreaking experiences we can have. 

Or if someone we care deeply about wounds us beyond measure, we think our hearts will never heal again. 

The story from Exodus today is one where Moses begins to feel his leadership has gone awry and may very well have led the Hebrew people into certain doom.  They are dying of thirst, and God tells Moses to do something impossible: hit a rock with his staff to make water come out of it. 


The Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Background on this particular scene.  Map of their journey.  Images from Sinai Wilderness. 

A bit about the Wilderness---spoiler alert: it's dry and barren. 

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

The people lodge a formal complaint, like a law suit.  

4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

Moses tsa’aq to God - “cries out” used in life-threatening moments. 

5 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah[b] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4 - Jesus is prefigured here in the rock. 

2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 

Turning our relationships over to God can be as counter-intuitive as striking a rock to get water—but when we do, it brings life. 

Lessons from the Rock

1. There is always more going on than our own guilt. 
2. You never know what someone might be fearing. 
3. The Rock from Water moments only happen when we let go and trust. 




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