Exod. xvii. 5, 6. Jlnd the Lord said laito Mo<;es^ Go on lefore
the people, and lake luith thee of the elders nf Israel : and the
rod, uhereiv'/lh thou swotesl the river, fake in thine hand, and
go. Beliolil, I ivilt stand before thee there upon the rock m
Horeh : and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come
uater out of it, that the people inaij drink. And Moses did
so, in the sight oj' the elders oj' Israel.
THE whole of man's pilgrimage on earth is but a
succession of trials and deliverances. And God so
ordains it to be, because it is for our greatest good :
** Trials work patience ; and patience, experience ;
and experience, hope." The frequent recurrence of
difficulties to the Israelites in their journey through
326 EXODUS, XVII. 5, 6. [63.
the wilderness may serve as a glass wherein to view
the state of the Church in this world, and, more or
less, of all the individuals that are in the world : and
the interpositions of God on their behalf shew, what
is the real, though less visible, course of his provi-
dence at this time. Scarcely had the waters at
Marah been sweetened for their use, and manna been
given them for their support, than they again expe-
rienced a most afflictive pressure, (a want of water
for themselves and their cattle ;) and again a mira-
culous deliverance, at Massah or Meribah.
We propose to notice in our present discourse,
I. The circumstances of this miracle —
And here there are two things to which we would
call your attention;
1 . The time —
[The Israelites had renewed their murmurs against God ;
and were so incensed at a renewal of their difficulties, that they
were ready to stone Moses for having brought them into their
present trying situation. As for their divine Benefactor, they even
questioned whether he were with them in the camp or not ;
assured that, if he was, he was unmindful of their necessities, or
unable to relieve them.
Yet at the very moment that they were so offending the divine
Majesty, did God interpose for their relief. What an exalted
idea does this convey to us of the patience^ and long-suffering of
God 1 And, if we were to mark the seasons of God's interposi-
tions in our behalf, we should find abundant matter for admira^r
lion and gratitude ]
2. The manner —
[This singularly displays the grace of God. God makes
Moses, whom they were ready to kill as their enemy, the instru-
ment of their deliverance. He orders the rod, which had wrought
such wonders in Egypt and at the Red i?ea, to be used, not for
their destruction (as might have been expected), but for the
supplying of their necessities. He himself, whose very existence
they had questioned, went to preside visibly on the occasion ;
and the elders, who had so unreasonablv doubted his power and
love, were suffered to be eye-witnesses of the miracle wrought for
their preservation.
How remarkably does this illustrate the precept which God
has given us, " not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil
with good !" And what convincing evidence does it aflFord us,
that, *' where sin has abounded, his grace shall much more
abound !" ]
But though these circumstances are instructive,
the chief thing to be noticed in the miracle, is,
II. The hidden mystery contained in it —
We can have no doubt but that this part of sacred
history was intended to typify and prefigure Christ %
as a source of all spiritual blessings to the world ;
as a spring,
1. Divinely appointed —
[o one would have conceived the idea of looking for water
in that rock, any more than in any other spot throughout the plain
whereon it stood : nor would it have entered into the mind of
man to bring water out of it by the stroke of a rod or cane. But
God appointed it to be the medium of communication between
hiaiself and his distressed people. And who would ever have
thought that God's only dear Son should be given unto us ; and
that blessings should be made to flow down to us through the
wounds inflicted on him both by God and man ? Yet '* was all
this done according to the determinate counsel and foreknow-
ledge of God." " He was smitten, stricken of God, and af-
flicted," that our souls might be redeemed from death : *' He
was wounded for our transgressions, that by his stripes we might
be healed." Yes, it is a faithful saying, that " the Father sent
the Son to be the Saviour of the world." " It pleased the Fa-
ther that in Christ should all fulness dwell ;" and that " we
should receive out of his fulness" " every thing that pertaineth
to life and godliness."]
2. All-sufficient —
[" The water gushed out of the stricken rock, and flowed
hke a river ; so that it abundantly supplied the whole camp of
Israel, (both men and beasts.) following them in all their jour-
neyings for the space of eight and thirty years. And whoever
lacked, that had once drunk of the water that Christ gives to his
Church and people ? ever did any of them, never shall any,
thirst again : for " the water that Christ gives them shall be in
them a well of water springing up unto everlasting life ''" ^
3. Universally accessible —
[The water from the rock flowed to every quarter of the
camp ; and the people instantly dug pools for its reception, so
that men and cattle were supplied without the least difficulty*.
And how free is our access to Christ ; free to all persons, and at
all tunes ! Hear his own invitation, and the invitation of his
» 1 Cor. X. 4. '• John iv. 13, 14. ' umb. xxi. 16—18.
328 EXODUS, XIX. 3 — 6. ' [64.
Spirit, of his Church, and of all that know the value of those
living waters'' As the vilest murmurers in the camp drank
of that stream, so may even the most flagrant rehels in the uni-
verse drink of this* " Christ has wiihin him the residue
of the Spirit*^; and "pours out that Spirit abundantly s" upon
all who call upon him ; upon all, witlumi price'', without parsi-
mony ', and without upbraiding ''- ]
We may learn from hence —
1. The experience of real penitents —
[Their thirst after the Saviour is urger.tand insatiab e'
What a blessed sight would it be to behold a whole congregation
as eager in their desires after Christ as the Israelites were after a
supply of water for their bodies ! The Lord hasten the
season when this thirst shall prevail throughout all the world !]
2. The mercy reserved for them — •
[They may feel many painful sensations, and be greatly dis-
quieted for a season : but the promise which God has given them
shall surely be realized by all"' ]
^ Rev. xxi. 16, 17. ' Ps. Ixviii. 18. ^ Mai. ii. 15.
s Tit. iii. 6. '' Isai. Iv. 1. * John vii. 37—39.
''Jam. i. 5. 'Matt. v. 6. •" Isai. xli. 17, 18. & xliii. 20.

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