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Come to the Waters

Numbers 20:6b-8
And the glory of the LORD appeared to them, and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”

This caravan comes to another sudden halt here in Numbers 20 as the people once again grumble to Moses about their impending doom, this time over their need for water. And, of course, just like every other similar plight experienced throughout their pilgrimage, they don’t have the decency to couch their genuine thirst in kinder terms. Something like, “Moses, we’re sorry to bother you again—you’re doing a great job leading by the way—just a head’s up that our canteens are completely dry and our livestock are famished and we’re just wondering if you could kindly ask the LORD to fill our canteens!” No, they can’t say it like that. All they can do is regurgitate the same unoriginal tripe they’ve been spewing every time an obstacle slows down their progress: “Has God lead us here to die? We would’ve been better off in Egypt! Remember the ginger ale and the coffee and the sweet tea—oh what I’d give for a glass of Egypt’s finest right now!”

Nevertheless, while their gripe is predictable, the LORD’s response is anything but. Remember back in Numbers 11 when the people demanded meat and God lavished them with quail? At first, that gift seemed like an answer to prayer, until the birds smothered the landscape like an ominous scene from a Hitchcock film. We’d expect the same sort of righteous retaliation here, right? Maybe God will mix the water with E. coli or send a powerful geyser gushing up through the earth to flood the valley. Yet He doesn’t! Instead of meeting their complaint with a thunderclap or brimstone or a devastating plague, He provides for their need in a cool, refreshing stream of Providence. Not because they deserve it, but because He’s good.

Friend, the LORD will supply our needs today just as He’s promised throughout His Word. But for our part, let’s give Him the gratitude He deserves not just in our receiving, but also in our asking.