Exodus 17: 1-7
A story of how God graciously responds to us in the midst of complaints and suffering.
As we read the scriptures in Lent, let us remember we are in a season of turning and a time of practicing spiritual disciplines. Especially those of fasting, prayer, and a deeper focus on almsgiving.
Low and behold, you and I who thought just a few short weeks ago we might enter into a time of giving up something for Lent like chocolate or spirits, or that we might add a few extra prayers during Holy Week or on weekdays, find ourselves plunged into a time of fasting from social interactions and routines, whether we want to or not! And I am sure find ourselves praying for many things, we had not thought to pray for in ways we had not imagined we could.
Lent it seems has come to us, making time, and creating a greater sense of our human frailty and a greater awareness of how little control we really do have over our lives.
In this context, I find myself feeling a lot more sympathetic to those unruly congregates of early Israel, “there was no water for the people to drink”, and a quarrel broke out. I can relate, I felt the murmurs rising in the grocery store when the shelves were empty.
And there was God, leading the people by “the roundabout way of wilderness”. Doing what only God could do, drawing water from the rock. I love the question in vs 7 “Is the Lord among us or not?”. Yes or no? And its invitation to all who read, we who murmur and we who cry out, to tell the improbable story of a God who divines water from rocks in the middle of nowhere. God gives the people what they need, when they need it, even when their attitude and lack of faith turns snarky and undisciplined. Is God not also ready to give us water in whatever desert we find ourselves?
How might water be a metaphor for all of the ways in which God comes to us in a weary and parched time? Name the ways, list the ways, write a prayer of the ways in which God comes to give us water in the desert. Here’s my attempt. I’d love to hear yours. I am indebted to Larry Luna as well for reminding me of the grace of water in a dry place.
Peace my friends.
I give thanks to you O Lord, for the gifts of engineers, water authorities, and plumbers. All of those who protect, conserve and help us care for the water we have. I give thanks that I have a water tap in my home. Thankful that I am able to wash my hands.
I pray for all of those who are without clean water: those in refugee camps around the world; people in places whose water contains lead and contaminants that are not safe.
Stir up in us your Holy Spirit that gushes forth in life giving ways. Help us who murmur, to receive the gifts You give with grateful hearts. And turn our hearts toward others, that we may serve the common good through sharing Your good gifts of creation by conservation, almsgiving that seeks to provide safe drinking water to people near and far. May we live as people who trust your abundance and risk your grace in the world. Amen.
-- Pastor Kelly Giese