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Exodus 17:1-7

Drinking From the Rock

  • Jean Marais
  • Weekend Messages
  • July 03, 2022

Now Israel is getting ready to depart from the wilderness of Sin, and we will see that they once again grumble against God. They were going to learn another valuable lesson, and it would become a major prophetic type of Jesus Christ.

We will see that God wanted them to understand that He is their continual source of water, and life, from the rock. It is also a valuable lesson for us that Jesus is our continual source of life and provision for all we need.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Drinking from the Rock
Exodus 17:1 – 7                                      
July 3, 2022

At this point in Exodus, Israel has been set free from oppression and slavery, God had split the red sea, they walked through on dry land and the Egyptian army was destroyed. Because of this, they sang a song of joy to the Lord. Three days into the wilderness, they came to Mara where the water was bitter. So, God turned the bitter water sweet when He instructed Moses to throw a branch of a tree, which was a type of the cross of Christ, into the water. They moved on to Elim, then to the wilderness of Sin where they again grumbled against God when they were hungry, and God provided Manna and meat.

Now they are getting ready to depart from the wilderness of Sin, and we will see that they once again grumble against God. They were, however, going to learn another valuable lesson, and it would become a major prophetic type of Jesus Christ.

We will see that God wanted them to understand that He is their continual source of water, and life, from the rock. It is also a valuable lesson for us that Jesus is our continual source of life and provision for all we need.

I.  Come out of Sin

  • Verse 1- wilderness of Sin. The word Sin in this verse in the original language means ‘thorn or clay’. We see that the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin. Historians believe that Sin was a small town adjacent to the desert in the eastern part of Egypt.
  • In other words, the Israelites had departed from Egypt, but were not out of Egypt yet.
  • In the same way people today might have decided to follow Christ but are still stuck in the flesh on the outskirts of Egypt.
  • We see that Israel moved out in stages. I imagine that as they made ready to move out into the unknown, some of them wanted to hold back just a little longer, although God commanded them to move out.
  • In the same way, all people do not come out of sin, or their worldly life dominated by flesh at the same time. Some move forward wholeheartedly following God in faith and revelation of the future hope; others don’t.
  • It is wonderful to know though, that Jesus does not leave you, but His Spirit keeps on convicting you and ushering you forward.

Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 

  • At some stage in our Christian walk, we all must choose to die to sin, the old life, and leave Egypt behind, following God into the great unknown, holding on to His promises.

Illus. Explorers all through history, like Lewis and Clark, had to leave the known things behind to go into the great unknown in faith, hoping they will find whatever they were looking for. We are also venturing into the unknown, but with a different perspective. We are going into the unknow with the eternal Guide who knows exactly where He is going and what is going to happen, example Abraham.

A.  Thirst for a Godly life

  • They came to Rephidim, which means ‘resting place’, but there was no water.
  • Many times, people come to Christ, break with their past and start their new life in Christ. After a while though, they may start to feel thirsty. They might feel that they have left everything behind, worked so hard to change many things in their lives and do not understand why they now feel dissatisfied and thirsty.
  • A trap people fall into, is that they set off on this new venture of the Christian walk with much vigor and energy wanting to change everything in their lives quickly by self-effort. But soon it feels as if they’re running on empty.
  • This is the difference between relationship and religion. Religion builds on a one-time experience or truth and want to draw all future sustenance from that moment, worshipping the form of the thing instead of the Person.
  • We see an example of this when Jesus took James John and Peter with Him to the mountain to pray, Jesus was transfigured, and Elijah and Moses joined Jesus on the mountain in glory and splendor. Peter then said the following:

Luke 9:33, And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. 

  • Jesus was coming to fulfill the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) to usher in the new dispensation of grace. Grace and Law do not mix. As such, to tabernacle (house) them together permanently was not to be.
  • One of the reasons this would not be a good idea, is because people would worship and commemorate the transfiguration in that space while missing the point. It would become a religious shrine, commemorating a past experience.
  • The Israelites had to thirst for water to understand that they would be continually dependent on God for life. They could not draw from the Mara experience.
  • In the same way, we cannot walk the Christian walk effectively without Christ. Otherwise, it is just religion through self-effort by trying to be good enough. We need a daily walk with Christ drawing our sustenance from him through His Spirit dwelling in us and His Word sustaining us.

B.  Ask of God

  • Verse 2 – once again we read that the people quarreled with Moses, grumbling, and asking him to give them water. Thirst makes one desperate. I can almost see the mob forming angrily around Moses.
  • Verse 4 – Moses does the appropriate thing: he runs to God and asks Him to provide. Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t tell us that God got angry. God led them to this place so they could experience thirst and realize that He is the only hope for provision they have.
  • I’ve seen many Christians in the past run to many things to fill them up. Some of these are bad, worldly things. Some might even be ‘good’ things, like courses, conferences, worship events, and so forth. These are wonderful things, but their primary function is to point to Christ and help people grow in a personal relationship with Christ. When it becomes the primary relationship sustenance, it becomes religion and after a while the soul will start to feel thirsty and dry.
  • Eventually the thirst leads you back to the primary source of life: Jesus.

Luke 11:13, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

  • God wants to supply the life-giving power that we need through the Holy Spirit, but he will not force it on us. If we ask with a sincere heart hungering for a deeper relationship with Him, we will receive.

II.  Drink from God’s Provision

God was about to do a miracle that would be a sign of his presence and a picture of his eternal provision through Jesus Christ. Not only that, but it would stand in stark contrast between the life they experienced in Egypt and the new life they had in God. This is also a type of Christ and His provision for us. 

A.  Recognize the Provision

  • Verse 5,6 … and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.
  • I believe that every detail in the word is there for reason. Moses’ staff was a type of God’s judgement. When Moses struck the Nile, which was the life source of Egypt, with his staff, it turned to blood. It turned into death and stench.
  • In the same way, that which we think is life in the world eventually turns out to be death when measured by God’s judgement.

Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, …

  • Now, God instructed him to go to a rock that God would point out. God says that He would stand on the rock, and Moses should hit this rock with his staff.
  • The word makes it clear that this rock was a type of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:4, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

  • I suggest you that in the spiritual realm, it was Jesus standing on the rock in front of Moses being prophetically struck by the judgment (staff) of God, it being a type of Him one day taking the judgment on himself and becoming the rock that would make eternal life available to all people. It became a prophetic action of the cross.
  • Jesus took the judgment of sin on Himself on the cross. When His blood is applied to our lives it reverses death and springs forth in life abundantly.
  • So “…Jesus blood that sets us free, brings death to death and life for me.”

B.  Believe God is with you

  • This was, however, no normal rock in the desert. This was a peculiar supernatural phenomenon.

1 Corinthians 10:4, … which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

  • Out of this verse Paul brings to light something interesting. Apparently, this rock that supplied water supernaturally ‘traveled’ with Israel and became their water source as they sojourned the desert.
  • This is the crux of the story. It is a type of our relationship with Christ. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is always with us and wants to be in relationship with us through His Spirit dwelling in us.

John 7:37 – 39, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.

  • We are to drink daily and to the full of Jesus Christ, our source of life flowing from a personal relationship with Him; knowing that He is with us and never forsakes us.

C.  Ask and you will receive

  • We see an interesting story in Numbers 20 that is linked to this event. Israel finds themselves in the wilderness of Zin and has no water. Again, they grumble against the Lord and Moses.
  • God tells Moses to go and speak to the rock and that water would flow from the rock for the assembly, but out of his anger for the people Moses again strikes the rock twice. Water flows from the rock, but God tells Moses that because he was disobedient and struck the rock instead of speaking to it, he would not enter the promised land.
  • This seems very harsh, until we understand that this rock was a type of Christ Jesus which was to be struck by God’s judgment once for our sins, paying for our sins on the cross. After that He would be the continual source to those who ask of Him. His sacrifice was more than enough!

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

  • Moses was instructed to speak to the rock in faith on the command of God. This was to be a picture for us pointing to Christ. The moment he struck the rock for the second time, he broke the type.
  • Now we are to ask God in faith, knowing He will supply because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. He is our source of life.

Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 

  • What are you trusting God for? He is the rock that never runs dry. He is the source of all we need, in this life and the next, aligned with His will. He knows what you need.

Isaiah 61:1,1The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So, they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

  • It is not about the ‘size’ of your faith, but Who your faith is in.
  • Will you trust Him and surrender to Him?


1 Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by [a]stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the [b]command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and [c]they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill [d]us and [e]our children and [f]our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He named the place [g]Massah and [h]Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”


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