Becoming the Stone
The Israelites, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and was buried there. Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron. The people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.
When I was a kid growing up on a farm in Central Pennsylvania, my greatest fear was a lack of water. I was terrified that our well would run dry and we would have nothing to drink. I was worried that rain would not come in the summer, that drought would ensue, and that the crops would wither and die in the fields. I feared all the ways that a water shortage would negatively impact my life and the lives of those around me. And these fears, worries, and anxieties would appear again and again each summer whenever the lawn began to turn brown and a seven-day forecast showed no rain in our future.
So I can understand the anxiety and worry that the Israelites were feeling as they faced a dry and barren wilderness. I understand how they feared what no water meant for them and their survival as they faced a parched world. But then, for the Israelites, a miracle happened! God instructed Moses to strike a rock and water came forth in abundance and all drank! So what am I worried about? Why am I fearing a lack of water? If water is lacking, God will eventually provide, right?
But waiting for God to provide, in some ways, seems to me to contradict the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us a gospel that takes care of one another and meets the needs of our neighbors, friends, and enemies. In short, Jesus calls US to provide. So we should not wait for a stone to appear with water flowing freely from it because we are called by Christ to be the stone and to make sure that the needs of all are met. Therefore, I will continue to do my best to conserve water, knowing that I have growing edges myself, as I strive to be a good steward of that life-giving resources. I will continue to be the annoying person who turns off the facet when someone leaves it running unnecessarily long. And I will continue to thank God for the rain, even when it literally rains on my parade. Will you join me? Will you too strive to become the stone?