Oct 1 – 17 Pentecost
Exodus 17:1-7
Water from the Rock

Background: The book of Exodus chronicles the search for Israel’s identity. One could say that Exodus is Israel’s response to and explication for the questions “Who are you?” and “To whom do you belong?” The Israelites have been delivered from Egypt through the sea. God has been with them on their journey and has provided for them as they need.

Theme: After crossing the Red Sea and seeing the utter defeat of the Egyptian army Israel has begun the journey to Mount Sinai to worship God. Israel’s journey is not one that proceeds smoothly – resources are lacking without divine intervention. Israel, with their lack of memory, forgets God’s presence beginning with their deliverance from Egypt through the Red Sea, across the wilderness being provided water, manna, and quail. God continues to hear the Israelite’s plea for assistance and even in their distrust God provides what they need. Yet Moses appears to tire from being in the bull’s eye.

Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Exodus 17:1-7.
* Place this reading in context; where does it take place, who are the characters, what is the relationship between the characters, etc.?
* Where are Rephidim, Horeb, Massah, and Meribah?
* Why might Moses and Israel camp in a place without water?
* Why might the people blame Moses for the lack of water and accuse him of leading them to their death?
* It appears the people are more upset with Moses than they are questioning God. Do you think it was right for Moses to bring God into the mix when considering the lack of drinkable water?
* Where does God direct Moses to find water in response to the people’s grumbling?
* Of what purpose might the elders be? What do you think God is trying to reinforce by making Moses have others present when he follows God’s command to locate water (remember, Moses does NOT make water – he simply finds it in the rock)?
* Why do you think God directs Moses to walk before the people to find water? Of what importance would it be for Moses to recognize the people’s condition as it actually is?
* Why do you think the Israelites were quarreling/complaining against God’s leadership? Don’t you think they remembered the miraculous actions of God in their immediate past?
* What is God’s wisdom when replying to the Israelite’s challenge for water (and food last week)?
* What is God’s wisdom in making others besides Moses and Aaron be present when the water was located?
* What is interesting about the staff used to locate clean water for Israel? Especially when considering the same staff polluted water in Egypt?
* What is God’s point to the people of Israel and to Moses by this exchange??
* How is the search for, and location of, “water” germane to our lives in Suffolk today?