"Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. . . . And the people murmured against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me’” (Exodus 17:1-4).
God had led Israel to the driest place in the whole wilderness. It was a testing place with no stream, no well, not even a trickle of water. Most baffling of all, Israel was led there "according to the commandment of the Lord" (v. 1).
God Himself had allowed His people to grow thirsty: "And the people thirsted there for water" (v. 3). Babies were crying, children wailing, grandparents suffering parched throats. Parents looked at their families and thought, "In a few days we'll all be dead." So they turned in anger to Moses, crying, "Give us water to drink!" They were still depending on man—on the flesh!
I want to stop here to point out something. First, God took Israel to Migdol by the sea to test them—and they failed to trust Him. Next, He took them to Marah, where He had another plan of deliverance—and they failed again. Now He brought them to Rephidim for more testing.
Do you see the pattern? If you don't learn to trust the Lord in simple, childlike faith when you're being tested, He will bring you back to yet another testing ground.
Israel was in just such a place once again. They were hot, thirsty, angry. But God already had a plan! He was not going to let them die. He had chosen beforehand to have them walk up Mount Horeb to a reservoir of water that He had prepared long before. And that source would last not just a day, a week or a month—but thirty-eight years!
Yet God was waiting for a response of faith from Israel. He was saying, “I have taken you through all these things, but you've refused to learn. Will you trust Me now? How many more problems do I have to allow in your life before you trust Me?"
Our loving, heavenly Father would never lead His children into a dry desert only to let them die of thirst, especially when He had a reservoir stored in a nearby rock! God has always had a plan for His people. And He has a plan for you right now, to deliver you from your present trouble.