How a Thirsty Soul Finds Refreshment

Is your soul parched? It’s hard to stay hydrated while living in a dry land without any rain, springs, or rivers.


Featured Image as well as above photo: Wilderness of Sin by Madelyne Osborn. 

Then the whole congregation of Israel left the Desert of Sin, moving from place to place as the LORD commanded. Exodus 17:1

Every time I read about the Desert of Sin, I wonder why the LORD commanded the Israelites to travel there.

I’ve thought it was named because of the Israelite’s sinfulness, but that’s not what the scholars believe. The Desert of Sin is actually a pagan name for a moon-deity who was worshiped at that time by people in Mesopotamia and surrounding areas.

The Lord chose a dry desert named after a pagan deity to reveal the thirst of His people for “living water” that only He could supply.


Bless the Lord for Water

Living in a sunny tropical climate, I understand the importance of bringing a bottle of water everywhere.  It’s critical to stay hydrated, so heat exhaustion doesn’t overwhelm you.

So, I can imagine the drooping shoulders arriving at a dusty camp after a hot day’s trek. Finding out that there isn’t any water to cook dinner, water the animals, or refresh their parched throats would push anyone over the edge at the end of a long hard day.

In fact it reminds me of how I felt as a child arriving at our summer vacation rental to find the pool completely drained of water! So, disappointment happens even in the best of circumstances.


Complaining About the Person in Charge

The Valley of Rephidim_Exodus 17_

The Valley of Rephidim. Dolcie D’Souza.

They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.  So the people contended with Moses, “Give us water to drink.” Exodus 17: 1b – 2

The interesting part is the Israelites didn’t cry out to God for water, but instead complained to Moses.

Why do we go to people instead of God for what we need?

Why do we complain about the person in charge?

But Moses wasn’t the one in charge.  They were really complaining about God.  Moses was simply following God’s will.

But the people thirsted for water there, and they grumbled against Moses: “Why have you brought us out of Egypt—to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Exodus 17:3


Moses Cried Out to the LORD

Moses didn’t seek out a person like Aaron…but instead cried out to the Lord. He sought the Lord’s help when the people violently demanded he give them water.

The Israelites didn’t believe that the Lord was really with them, but thought they would die in the desert.

How many times do we cry out to our pastor, doctors, or close friends instead of seeking the Lord’s help?

How many times do we wonder if the Lord is really with us?

Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What should I do with these people? A little more and they will stone me!” Exodus 17:4

And the LORD said to Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take along in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.  Behold, I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. And when you strike the rock, water will come out of it for the people to drink.” Exodus 17: 5 – 6


How the LORD Responds When We Turn to Him

Instead of expecting people to solve our problems, we need to turn to the LORD. The Lord will stand by us and reveal to us the actions we need to take.

When we seek the Lord’s help He often helps by unexpected people in unexpected ways and at unexpected places (Parker, J.D.D).

Although the people had sinned against the Lord by complaining and shouting violent demands, the Lord showed them loving kindness.

Instead of rebuking them, He drew water out of the rock for the people to drink. He refreshed them. The Lord poured water out for the entire mass of people including their animals.


Striking the Rock

Another interesting fact is that God told Moses to strike the rock instead of merely speaking to the rock which happens later in their journey.

So, the act of striking the rock was important to release the water. The water poured forth after the act of violence was done to the rock by the rod.

According to Jill Briscoe, “Moses’s rod represented God’s authority, while the rock depicted Jesus Christ, who was to be struck by the rod of God’s wrath on the cross. When the rock was smitten, the water was released. The miracle of the gushing water is a beautiful picture of the One who was to be the source of Israel’s survival- the blessed Holy Spirit.” (Here I am Lord, Send Someone else.)

They (Israelites) were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, 1 Corinthians 10: 2 – 5

These things took place as examples to keep us from craving evil things as they did  …And do not complain, as some of them did (1 Corinthian 10: 6 -10).

Our Heavenly father unexpectedly struck Jesus Christ by His wrath in an unexpected place… on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins.

When our souls are thirsty, we find refreshment by seeking Jesus. By believing in Jesus, believing that He is the Messiah, streams of living water will actually flow from us!

But Jesus isn’t talking about actual water, but spiritual water.  Jesus is speaking about the Holy Spirit who He sends to those who believe that He is the Messiah, God’s son.

Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive (John 7:38-39).


How to Get Rid of a Complaining Spirit and Unbelief

But we do complain when we are thirsty. But instead of seeking people to satisfy our needs, we need to turn to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

  1. Repent and Confess to God

Every person who has received Christ, but has complained against God or has unbelief can seek forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

2. Make a commitment to not complain about circumstances or question whether God is with us.

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28:13)


3. Make things right with God through prayer.

I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man (Acts 24:16)

4. You will receive refreshment of living water (Holy Spirit) through Christ Jesus.

Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive (John 7:38-39).


Are you ready to turn to the Rock of Ages?

If so listen to the hymm, Rock of Ages, performed by the Fountain View Academy on a beautiful mountain side and worship our LORD.


Join Free Online Bible Study

Join the online bible study this week. We are just now reading chapter 6 in Jill Briscoe’s book, Here I am Lord, Send someone else!

All you need to do is download the book for free on Hoopla if you have a public library card. Or you can purchase the book via my affiliate link:

Here I am Lord Send Someone Else

I would love to stay in touch. I just need an email address so I know where to send the Zoom invitation for the online discussion. Click here to receive more information about the online bible study

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Published by April Jollie

Teacher + Writer = Lessons of Hope for Tough Days, writer to deepen understanding of God's Word and to stay connected to Jesus.

4 thoughts on “How a Thirsty Soul Finds Refreshment

  1. The Living Water that comes from Jesus is so important to a believer. I see this scene with Moses as a precursor to Jesus” meeting with the Woman at the Well. If we don’t trust God to meet our daily needs, how can we expect Him to be available for the bigger issues that we face.

    Thank you for sharing this & getting my mind working this morning.

    1. Yes, The Woman at the well is also scripture that I considered using as well. So true that we need to turn to God daily to meet our needs!

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