Living Water An Exposition of Exodus 17:1-7 -- By: William J. McRae

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 08:1 (Summer 1999)
Article: Living Water An Exposition of Exodus 17:1-7
Author: William J. McRae


Living Water
An Exposition of Exodus 17:1-7

William J. McRae*

Introduction

In this section we join the children of Israel on the third leg of their journey from the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai. We have passed Marah where they faced their first problem—the bitter waters. There God graciously provided for them (Ex. 15:22–27). We have passed through the wilderness of Sin where they faced their second problem—no food. Once again God graciously provided for them: manna in the mornings, quail in the evenings (Ex. 16:1–36).

Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink (17:1).

Here they encountered their third problem. It was one that could be expected after a long journey in a parched wilderness.

Israel’s Problem (17:1-4)

There was no water for the people to drink (17:1b).

* Emmaus alumnus Bill McRae, well-known Bible expositor, author, and educator, presently serves at Tyndale College and Seminary (Ontario) as President Emeritus and Minister at Large. This is the twelfth in a series of expositions on the book of Exodus.

The people were without water. The welfare of the entire nation and all their flocks was threatened. Once again Israel was face-to-face with a trial of their faith. This was the third in the battery of tests administered during their wilderness experience. It was a test designed to prove them, to surface their true hearts and spiritual qualities. Ultimately it was designed to humble them (Deut. 8:2–3), to wean them from everything on earth and bring them to the place of complete reliance upon Him. The path of faith is always a path of trial.

The Response of Israel (17:2-3)

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 they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

They Quarreled with Moses (17:2a)

Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.”

The word “quarreled” or “chided” indicates...

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