Summary: What was Israel to do at a place where there was no water?


Exodus 17:1-7

INTRODUCTION: This morning Moses and the Israelites have come to a place where there was no water. The waters of Marah may have been bitter but what could be worse than NO water? What were they to do?


1. All the congregation of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin. As a child of God, though our life’s journey may have taken different paths, we all came from the wilderness of sin. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

2. They pitched in Rephidim—a place in the desert—to refresh, comfort, make a bed.

a. Pitch—they were to dwell or abide there for a while.

b. What they thought was a place of comfort and rest turned out to be a place of thirst.

c. Oh, beloved, when will we learn that the things and comforts of this world can NEVER satisfy the needs that only God can fill?

d. They quickly discovered that there was no water to quench their thirst.

3. They looked to Moses as their source of supply. They chided (contended) with Moses to provide water for their thirst (v. 2).

a. They were looking to the wrong one to supply their needs.

b. We often chide or contend among ourselves or our loved ones for the things we need.

c. There have been many times when God has had to remind me that He is my Source of supply. When I was a salesman working on commission there were slow times when it looked like there may be no pay next week. God reminded me that He would supply ALL my needs according to His riches.


e. If I will be faithful to Him, He will take care of me and all that is dear to me—my children, my wife, my church.

f. Why tempt the Lord when we can prove Him? Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

g. I truly believe that God means EVERY kind of blessing.


1. Murmuring not only is a sign of immaturity, but of a lack of faith.

2. It is no wonder that God judged their murmuring. They lacked faith—that which would please God.

3. Just look at the litany of their complaints. They said that Moses:

a. Took away their comfort—brought us from Egypt.

b. Wanted to kill them.

c. Wanted to kill their children.

d. Wanted to destroy their livelihood—kill their cattle.

4. We sometimes do the same thing and murmur about the things we don’t have.

ILLUSTRATE: Friday I had no clue as to what I would preach today. The week had been busy with a number of unplanned situations to deal with in addition to a full calendar. They had all been time-consuming and left precious time to prepare for Sunday. I murmured and told the Lord I would have to pull up an old or a canned sermon. Right then God spoke to my heart and reminded me that He was my Source and would supply the message. He reminded me that His people deserve something “homemade” rather than canned—something fresh from His heart rather than “leftovers.” One of my deacons, Norris, sensed my frustration and prayed that God would reveal His Word to me. This message today is a result of that. GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!

5. I thank God for the lesson I learned from Arnie Kinney—how he thanked almighty God for what he had AND FOR WHAT God is going to give him rather than what he needed.


1. Moses cried out to God for help.

2. He acknowledged his helplessness—what shall I do?

3. He told God his problem—they are almost ready to kill me.

4. In His faithfulness God gave Moses the answer he needed in his time of distress:

a. “Take with thee the elders”—to be witnesses of God’s provision and to believe with you. James says that if any are sick among you to call for the elders. There is mighty power when even two will agree in prayer.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

b. It was an impossible situation but God was saying “GET READY.”

c. “And thy rod”—a reminder of God’s past miracles (see Exodus 7:14-24). Remembering what God had done would give them faith for the present. God had not changed. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

d. “And go.”—take that step of faith.

e. “Behold, I will stand before thee upon the rock”—Moses was not alone. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with thee always.”

f. “In Horeb”—a parched place. What they thought was Rephidim (a place of comfort) was parched. God, however, would cause them to drink from that which was parched and dry as Moses would smite the rock.

5. Are you in Horeb—a parched place. THE ROCK HAS BEEN SMITTEN FOR YOU. Jesus went to Calvary where He suffered and died for your sins. He has provided for all your needs. No matter how parched you are, He will supply.

CONCLUSION: Verse 7 tells us that Moses named the place Massah (temptation) and Meribah (chiding or strife), saying, “Is the Lord among us?” The answer was YES. What a lesson they learned!

Close with the song In Times Like These.