Once again, the Children of Israel thirst for water and complain to Moses. They demand water from him, but he turns them away, telling them they are testing God. Again the Israelites accuse Moses of trying to kill them in the desert.
Moses turns to God for help, and He instructs him to take some representatives from the elders of Israel and strike a certain rock in Horeb with the staff he used to part the sea. God will cause water to flow from the rock for the people to drink. Moses does so, and he names the place ‘Masa u’Meriva’, meaning contention and strife.
The Israel Bible explains that the Israelites were not questioning God’s presence with their complaints so much as His involvement in their daily lives. In contrast to the Egyptian worldview, which saw nature as static, God showed the Children of Israel that He created and therefore could control nature, providing water in the desert as needed.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
This story reminds us of the earlier story from our portion about thirsting, but it also strongly parallels the account in Numbers 20. In what ways are these stories similar? Different?