Exactly what does this powerful memory of complaining, repeated several times in several scenes in the wilderness, imply about the people of God? (Exodus 17:1-7)
The existential question–“Is the LORD present among us or not?”– reminds the reader that these emancipated slaves faced a very real threat. God’s actions of presence and provision supply the answer needed by a fearful community. (David J. Garber Jr.) The real question is “Is God working in the details of our lives?”
“Here are the questions of the wilderness, “What!” “Where!” “How?” Faith has a brief but comprehensive answer to all the three, namely, God!” (C. H. MacIntosh) For apart from God, the wilderness wins.
Israel doubted God’s care when they were invited to trust Him. And yet, God works through their feelings of abandonment and helplessness, their words of complaint and acts of rebelliousness, and their need for reassurance, protection, a new self-identity… God sticks by them through it all. God has made promises to this people, and God is a promise-keeper.” (T. Fretheim)
Lent is a time for memories to be engaged and for us to remember the mighty deeds of our God and Christ. Lent is a time to trust God in the thin places of life. At times scarcity is a reality and our only hope is to trust God. Lent is believing what the world doubts. We are to believe that “at a rock in a hard place from — God brings water” and we are to believe in “a rabbi at a well with a promise never to thirst again.” (Brueggemann, p. 142) And the question remains “Is God among us?” The answer is a resounding YES!
Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more–
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!
Lord, forgive us, for our short-term memories of your grand “Yes’” to provisions for daily life. Today we lift up our cups to the heavens and we humbly ask for this life giving water so that we may never have to thirst again. For Christ is more than enough. Amen.