7 The place was named Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and because they tried Hashem, saying, “Is Hashem present among us or not?”
va-yik-RA SHAYM ha-ma-KOM ma-SAH um-ree-VAH al REEV b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL v’-AL na-so-TAM et a-do-NAI lay-MOR ha-YAYSH a-do-NAI b’-kir-BAY-nu im A-yin
17:7 Is Hashem present among us or not?
The People of Israel are not questioning their faith in Hashem. Rather, they are wondering to what extent He is involved in their everyday lives. In Egypt, and in other civilizations at that time, God was understood as a static force, and nature as governed by unchanging rules. The newly freed Children of Israel are therefore questioning God’s involvement in their day-to-day affairs. In turn, Hashem is educating the Nation about His supremacy and control over nature and all the workings of the world. Not only did Hashem create water, but He also controls its supply, providing it or withholding it as He sees fit. This message becomes embedded in the psyche of the Chosen Nation and its practical application bears fruit in the Chosen Land where the Jews pray daily to God for water and see His active involvement in everyday life.