“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.’ So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on” (Exodus 17:5-6, NLT).
The details of this scene — and of God’s compassion for the people — are replayed through Jesus’ sacrifice. Christ is the rock that was struck for our transgressions when we were lost and wandering. And He is the living water that sustains us. Paul tells us:
“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. . . . For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1, 4).
HOLDING ON TO BITTERNESS
The scene in the wilderness demonstrates what Jesus does for grumbling people: He takes on their punishment and declares, “I’ll stand condemned for them; I’ll be scourged; I’ll take their sins upon my back; I’ll be nailed to the cross in their place — all so that they might receive abundant life.”
Some Christians forfeit this awesome gift by holding on to bitterness. Paul says, “Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us” (1 Corinthians 10:5-6).
GOD’S BEAUTIFUL GRACE
Our lives can wither away in bitterness, or we can be revived by the beautiful grace God offers us — it’s our choice. But His promise remains available to us either way — and He gives us newness of life.