Peace be with you!
I am one of those people who get angry when she is “hangry” (“hungry-angry”). There is no reasoning with me when I am hungry. If I start whining over stupid stuff, it is time to feed me, or I will argue over [whatever “it” is] until I have made my pointless view known.
Once again, the Israelites are complaining. Last week they were hungry; this week they are thirsty. Desperate for water, the Israelites have become downright hostile toward the Lord and Moses (Exodus 17:1, 7). The Israelites demand Moses gives them water before they die (Exodus 17:2a, 3). Moses asks, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” (Exodus 17:2b NRSV). However, there is no way to reason with the Israelites when they are thirsty. The Israelites answer Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3b NRSV). Moses cries out to the Lord, “What should I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me” (Exodus 17:4 NRSV; italics added for emphasis). The Israelites are so aggressive to Moses that he fears for his life.
Despite there distrust and anger, the Lord takes Israelites’ complaint seriously. (If only they would have turned to him in the first place.) “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel” (Exodus 17:5-6).
The Lord prevails over the Israelites by meeting their demands. The Lord gives the Israelites bread to eat (Exodus 16:12-14) and water to drink (Exodus 17:5-6). Both times the Lord finds a way to meet what seem to be impossible demands. The Lord does not want Israelites to die from starvation or dehydration. The Lord does not lead the Israelites out of Egypt only to abandon them in the wilderness. The Lord hears the Israelites’ complaints, and he takes action to deal with the problem.
The Lord stays present in the Israelites’ lives, even when they are hostile, because he wants to build a relationship with them. When the Lord gives the Israelites bread, he gives them the sustenance to survive in the wilderness. This reminds me of when Jesus says, “Take and eat … Take and drink … This is my body and blood poured out for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, the Lord gives himself to the Israelites by satisfying their hunger. Every day, when the Israelites eat the bread, they are reminded the Lord is with them.
In the same way, the water coming out of the rocks reminds me of baptism and how God the Father makes us new again. The Lord wants to redefine the Israelites as his people. Water has the power to quench our thirst and wash away the dirt. The Lord wants to quench the Israelites’ every need and wash away their fears and worries; he is with them.
It rained all week in Florida, which seems fitting as I mourn the loss of my grandpa. Somehow, the rain washes away my sorrow and makes me feel my grandpa’s presence. God the Father is washing away my sorrow with the rain and is assuring me will he will provide the strength and courage to go on living without my grandpa’ physical presence. My grandpa is not physically in the world anymore, but Holy Spirit makes it feel as though he is wrapping his arms around me to tell me one last time, “It will be all right.”’
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for satisfying our hungrier and quenching out thirst. Help us to feel your presence in the world. Lead us to open our arms to those who need food, drink, and shelter. Thank you for being presence in the world. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How does the Lord satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst?
- Next time you are feeling desperate and afraid, what is one way you can turn to God instead of away from Him?