Read Exodus Chapter 17. After you have read the chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer.
“Then the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. ” (Ex. 17:1) “The Book of Exodus intended to speak directly of Rephidim after the wilderness of Sin, in order to connect between the temptation of drinking (the rock) and that of food (the Manna and the quail). The scholar Origen believes that these locations have a special meaning that relates to the journey of the believer in his setting forth from servitude to the freedom of glory of God’s children. The scholar Origen believes that the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey according to four stages in good order: from the wilderness of ‘Sin’, to Rephidim, from the temptation, to reach the sound discernment and decision. So he says, [Whoever gets out of temptation with a good ordinance, would appear sound, on the day of judgment, in good shape, not hurt by the wounds of temptation, or according to the Book of Revelation, “To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2: 7)].” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” Exodus 17:3-4
“In the wilderness, you may get murmuring thoughts, when you experience affliction. But if you have Moses’ heart and tongue, and cry out to the Lord, He will bring out water from the rock! Moses cried out, believing that divine grace is far above natural possibilities. God is capable, by one way or another, of quenching the thirst of the people. Moses’ life, with all what it contained of supernatural divine works, represented the work of grace in the Church.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
MOSES SOUGHT TO IMITATE CHRIST - "When [Moses] was being stoned by the people, he made intercession for them. Even more so he wished to be blotted out of God‘s book sooner than that the flock committed to him should perish. He sought to imitate the Shepherd who would, he knew, carry on his shoulders even the wandering sheep.” - JEROME
“And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” Exodus 17:5-6 NKJV
“The rock refers to the Lord Christ, according to the words of the apostle: “All ate of the same spiritual food, and all drank of the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10: 3, 4). As to the water coming out of that Rock, it is the Holy Spirit, presented to us by the Lord, as the secret of our comfort, sanctification, and fellowship with the Father in His Son.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
The Rocks Symbolizes our Lord in many ways:
A. The people enjoyed the water of the rock, after crossing the Red Sea and the perishing of Pharaoh and his army, after drinking of the water of Marah and the wells of Elim, and enjoyment of its palm trees. Thus no one will get to know the secret of Christ, and quench his thirst by the springs of the Holy Spirit, except after he crosses over the water of Baptism, denies Satan and all his evil works. He then enjoys the Law, that became sweet through the cross, not through its killing letters, but its Spirit, and believes in the works of the apostles (the twelve wells of water) and the disciples (the seventy palm trees).”
“Whoever forsakes the love of the world (symbolically the Egyptians, drowned in the sea), tastes the sweetness through the tree, enjoys the apostolic wells, and the shade of the palm trees, would be able to receive God, and as the Rock here, according to the apostle, is Christ, which is, for unbelievers, hard and solid. But for him, who uses the rod of faith, it would be a spring to quench his thirst, having said, “We will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14: 23)." - St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa
"Grace has a stronger power than nature: Moses strikes the sea with his rod, and it divides; touches the rock, and water comes out; and cast a tree in bitter water, and it becomes sweet...that is the exalted, and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the Church!" - Ambrose
B. The Rock quenched the thirst of all; and that was a symbol of the fountains of the New Testament, brought forth by the Lord Christ, Who called the thirsty for righteousness to come forward to drink out of the living water (John 7: 37 - 40).
C. “As the people could not have quenched their thirst from that rock, unless it is struck by the rod; likewise, we would have not enjoyed the limitless wells of God’s love, and the Holy Spirit in us, unless the Lord Christ is struck, to bear on the cross, through the divine justice, the price of our sins. And as the rock was publicly struck once, so also the Lord Christ was visibly lifted up on the cross, and offered up Himself, once, for all (Hebrew 7: 27), and from Him a flow of blood and water came out (John 19: 34), as atonement and purification for all who believe in Him.”
D. “The invitation of the elders of Israel to accompany Moses as he strikes the rock to bring out the water, carries a symbol that, not only the Law (Moses) testifies to the cross, but the Patriarch Fathers and all the prophets have partaken this testimony with the Law for the work of redemption through the cross.”
GRACE WORKS CONTRARY TO NATURE - "The people of the fathers thirsted, Moses touched the rock, and water flowed out of the rock. Did not grace work a result contrary to nature, so that the rock poured forth water, which by nature it did not contain? - AMBROSE
THE ROCK AND THE VIRGIN MARY - "It does not surpass faith that a virgin gave birth, when we read that even a rock poured out water and that the waves of the sea were made solid in the form of a wall. - AMBROSE
“Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.” Exodus 17:8
AMALEK MEANS A SINFUL PEOPLE - There is no vice which the divine law resists more [than pride]. That most proud spirit becomes an obstacle to things above and a mediator to things below. It thereby receives a greater power of domination, unless one avoids the secret snares he is laying by going along a different way. If he is openly raging through a sinful people, he is like Amalek. By his opposition he denies the passage to the land of promise. He then must be overcome by the cross of Christ, which was prefigured by the extended hands of Moses.” - AUGUSTINE
“That was the first time for the children of Israel to enter into a war with another people.
Before that, when Pharaoh and his army came to attack Israel, the divine command was, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today...the Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Ex. 14: 13-14). But now, having enjoyed the crossing over of the Red Sea, and having received all fulfillments from the Lord: the manna, the quails, and the water from the rock, the people were committed to fight, not by their own human power, but through the work of God in them. That war has been a symbol of the spiritual war between the Kingdom of God, and that of the devil, where the conquest will be for the children of God through the cross.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
In this war, we notice the following:
A. “Moses was expected, in that first war, to cry out to God, and to kneel or to lay flat on his face, but we see him here, stretching his hands as a cross. This is a symbol of the conquest of the cross.”
LIFTING HANDS IN SACRIFICE - "For in this way, when the eyes are lifted up through thought and contemplation and the hands are lifted up in deeds which lift up and exalt the soul, as Moses lifted up his hands, one may consequently say, ―The lifting up of my hands is as the evening sacrifice.‖3 In this way the Amalekites and all the unseen enemies will be worsted, and the Israelite reasonings in us will prevail.” - ORIGEN
B. “Moses, on the top of the hill, symbolized the Lord Christ who was crucified on the Mount of Calvary, while Joshua, with his men of war, and fighting against Amalek, symbolized the persistent strife of the Church against sin. It is as though the Church, with Christ, is partaking of His crucifixion, through its union with Him and its daily strife; to say with the apostle, “I have been crucified with Christ; It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me...by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 2: 20; 6: 14).”
MOSES REPRESENTED THE CROSS - "In truth it was not because Moses prayed that his people were victorious, but because, while the name of Jesus was at the battle front, Moses formed the sign of the cross. Who among you does not know that that prayer is the most pleasing to God which is uttered with lamentation and tears? But on this occasion Moses (or any after him) did not pray in such a manner; he was seated on a stone. And I have shown that even the stone is symbolical of Christ.” - JUSTYN MARTYR
MOSES COMPARED WITH CHRIST - "See how the type was given through Moses but the truth came through Jesus Christ. And again, on Mt. Sinai, when the Amalekites were waging war on the Hebrews, the hands of Moses were propped up, held by Aaron and Hur standing on either side. But Christ, when he came, himself held his hands extended on the cross by his own power. Do you see how the type was given and the truth came?” - CHRYSOSTOM
C. Hur was not as great as Moses, yet, it would have been impossible for Moses to remain stretching his hands, without the help of Aaron and Hur. By this, every believer should realize his status within the divine work, and should not underestimate his possibilities, even if they appear worthless.
D. The stretching of Moses’ hands also refers to life of perseverance until the end. If you want to prevail, hold up your hands, lift up your works, and do not waste your days on earth. Hold up your hands toward God, and keep the apostle’s advice, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17); so as the scripture that says: “This company will lick up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field” (Num 22:4). This means that the people of God (the company), uses their tongue, (licks up) and voice more than their hands and weapons. By pouring its prayers to God, they prevail on their enemy. This is the way to have victory in the battle over the enemy (the sin)].”
"When Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hands, to give them some rest, Amalek prevailed. Therefore, let us hold up our hands with the strength of the cross of Christ; and let us, everywhere raise pure hands in prayers, “without wrath or a doubting”, in order to be worthy of God’s help. That is what the apostle James persuades us to do, when he says: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4: 7). Therefore, let us start with full faith, then the devil will not only flee away from us, but he will be crushed under our feet; as was Pharaoh, when he drowned in the sea, and was swallowed by the depths of the abyss." - ORIGEN
Heavenly Father, I thank You for being the Living Water. Lord, our thirst can not be satisfied without You. You promised dear Lord, that “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Again, we ask dear Lord that we not be like the Israelites seeking the temporary quenching of the water of the Egyptians, but rather, we want the water You promised to the Samaritan woman when You said “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. Lord we know that to be partakers of this everlasting life, we must experience the death of the Cross with You as Moses did. Let us lift up our hands and our hearts praying for salvation from our enemies and partnership with You on Your Cross. Amen