“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” (Exodus 17:6)
This amazing provision of drinking water for the Israelites in the midst of a barren wilderness is surely one of the most remarkable miracles of creation recorded in Scripture. Furthermore, it was not a one-time event but somehow continued to provide water for them during the entire 40 years they spent in the desert. God provided daily water just as He provided their daily bread. “Our fathers . . . did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1, 3-4).
The provision was an act of pure grace on God’s part, for even after God created the manna for them, the people were about to stone Moses (Exodus 17:4). But their complaint was really against God, so God “stood before” Moses as he smote the rock at Horeb, and a great spring of water burst forth.
This is the first mention of the word “rock” in Scripture, and it is surely significant that the apostle Paul calls this rock a type of Christ. Just as Moses smote the rock with the same rod of judgment which he had used to smite the river in Egypt (Exodus 7:20; 17:5), so Christ had to be “smitten of God” (Isaiah 53:4) because of our sins, before He could fulfill His promise: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).
But once our Rock was smitten, the water of everlasting life was made available freely to all who will drink. The very last invitation of the Bible is: “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Then, “whosoever drinketh . . . shall never thirst” (John 4:14). HMM