March 24

Good morning all!  Happy Monday and Happy Spring Break for some of you!

Today’s scripture: Exodus 17:1-7

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 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. 6 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. 7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

 

 

For those who don’t know, I lived in the Midwest for three years while in grad school (Evanston, just outside of Chicago).  I loved living around Chicago until about mid February.  Although with as much snow as they have had this year, I would have really disliked the winter.  Around mid February, I would start calling home to complain about the cold and start missing the rain.  When I moved back and a dear friend of mine visited, he laughed because every person he met commented on the rain in Oregon.  We would mention that I was taking him to the coast and almost every person said, “oh gosh, it rains at the coast.”  It has since become something we say to each other. “How are you? Is it raining at the coast?”

 

Now, it does rain here in the valley in Oregon but probably not as much as we tell people (don’t let that secret get out).  But it rains quite a bit.  There have been many memories of being soaked but going outside anyway…what does a little rain hurt?  And do you really need an umbrella? No way!  In fact, it rains so much that now that we have had a few days of sun I am starting to miss the rain.  Don’t  worry, it is supposed to come back on Tuesday.  I am grateful because our world needs the wet these days.  I love the rain.  I get comfort when it rains outside.  I get worried if it has been dry just a little too long.  And one of my favorite days of the whole year is rain after a long dry spell in summer. I love the smell.  I love the feel and I love to snuggle inside when it is really coming down.  I also love when a good rainbow appears (I will take on the rainbow in Genesis sometime during Lent…don’t worry).

I am surrounded by liquid sunshine so much that I don’t really have a concept of what it would mean to be so thirsty as our characters today.  This Exodus passage really is a key story in our faith.  We don’t look at it very often but there are remnants of it all over the New Testament.  In the Gospel of John (where I spend a lot of time these days with our church) Jesus talks about this story a couple of times when he talks about producing living water.   The people of Israel have been wandering and they are thirsty.  They are in the desert.  I can’t even imagine what this would be like. Could you? Have you ever been truly truly thirsty?  What does that feel like?  It must be havoc on your body and your mind.  Only thinking about water….water….water…
So the people start complaining (surprise surprise) and Moses gets a little upset (surprise surprise) and then God comes up with a plan (surprise surprise) and it is pretty dang amazing (double surprise).  Now, this miracle is incredible. It is unbelievable and just what God would pull out.  Moses gets to just hit a rock and water comes GUSHING out.  Not just a trickle.  Not just a stream….GUSHING OUT OF A….ROCK!   So the truly thirsty people get quenched in abundance.  God takes care of their most basic need and out of something that seems impossible.
Now…what could we be thirsty for?  What are we yearning for? And a better question…why are you worried about your most basic needs when God has provided abundance out of a rock?  If you are me, you won’t have a concept of what it means to be truly thirsty when we are surrounded by lush water (or lots of snow…for the midwest crowd reading:))  but you probably have known what it is to miss your basic needs.  You probably have been starved for community.  Yearning for something deeper.  You might be thirsty for conversation and time with God.  You might be craving a little space in life.  You might be truly complaining about the lack of prayer time or healthy living.
So here is the question for today…what are you thirsty for?  And where is God providing today?
Ok, there is one last piece to all of this.  When Moses does this thing, the people benefit and they journey on.  That is not the end of the story.  When Jesus takes up this story, he makes living water something that flows through us. That’s right, it is not something for us to just digest but something that we now have a responsibility to continue on. What is provided to us we need to continue providing.  So once your soul has been quenched, it cant stop there.  Water is not stagnant around God work. The water GUSHES through the rock…it can’t stay with us.  It is our job to continue to provide thirst quenching moments….what will that look like?
Peace to you,
Courtney
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