The Rock at Rephidim
In the last Nugget I wrote:
Each person normally consumes 3 litres of water a day. Health authorities recommend a minimum of 2 litres per day. It is clear that the Israelites took supplies from the Egyptians (Ex 12:36). Josephus tells us that the people took with them water for the journey (Antiquities 3/1:1). This water was likely kept in water bags made from sheep skin and slung over the livestock. After the water they carried ran out (Ex 15:22) they would have had to find water from wells, springs or any other source of water they could. Water is a precious commodity in the wilderness. By the time the Israelites got to Marah they were desperate to find water.
I painted a scene of sheer impossibility. How could approximately two million people find enough water to sustain them in the wilderness? Not just for a day but for a long period of time?
The LORD said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you.
I will stand before you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD here with us or not?”
While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim . . . (Exodus 17:5-8a)
Don’t be confused by the term “the rock of Horeb”. It is not a reference to Mt Sinai (Horeb). It refers to a particular rock located somewhere near Rephidim. A rock from which gushed huge volumes of water, enough to sustain the Israelites. There is a curious statement found in the New Testament: All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:3-4). Well Jesus is the fountain of living water. Josephus refers to this phenomena as being a source of water from strange source, the flow of which followed them like a river. (Josephus Antiquities A 3/1:7). William Whiston (1667-1752), who translated Josephus’ works into English, described the rock as being too big to be moved by horse and cart and still seen by travellers to the area in his day and age.
So is there any evidence or proof for the existence of such a rock?
Close to the Jabal Al Lawz mountain range, on the western side of Horeb, is a rock which stands out as being different. It stands out from the surrounding plain as high as a 6 storey building (Lennart Möller – p 245) 18 to 20 metres in height. It is split down the middle. The Bible tells us Moses struck the rock, which split and large quantities of water gushed from it. This rock seems to fit the description of the bibilical events perfectly.
The second photo is taken from the opposite side of the split to the first photo. There is evidence at the bottom of the rock of alluvial smoothing suggesting a significant volume of water has flowed from the base of this rock.
It is my hunch that the water which came from this rock flowed like a river and followed the Israelites on their journey. I am well aware that sounds rather far-fetched but with God anything is possible. And it would explain how the Israelites were able to survive their long sojourn in the wilderness given the requirements for vaste quantities of water they had.
Just stop for a moment to ponder the provision for the Israelites after leaving Horeb (Sinai). They received a miraculous delivery of KHRQ – Kibroth-Hattaavah Raw Quail, daily portions of Uncle Moses’ Manna Muesli along with a huge supply of water which followed them like a river from Rephidim. On top of all that their sandals did not wear out after 40 years in the wilderness (Deut 29:5). You have to admit that is a pretty incredible mobile delivery service!
As I am no longer needing to write a monthly Nugget for the JPCC live magazine (the magazine has become defunct). I will leave the journey of the Israelites at this point. However, I have decided to post past Nuggets on my new website when it is fully functional. To get email notification you will need register for it or just simply visit at your leisure to see what is new. I haven’t decided as yet how frequently I will post the Nuggets. I am thinking weekly but will base my decision on the response I receive from you all.
It is no longer possible for me to use MailChimp to send Gemz and Nuggets. This is a convenient time to move towards a new platform as I have already decided I would take a break from Gemz and Nuggets given the fact I am heading to Brazil from Jan 5th to 22nd to teach Deeper Bible 101 – 301. I sent the last 3 Gemz of the year out before Christmas but MailChimp wiped all but ten of my recipients from the data base because they have to comply with new industry standards you have to register yourselves to combat spam. Hence nobody received anything. All the latest Gemz are available on a new website https://bereaninsights.wordpress.com
The old Berean Insight website http://www.bereaninsights.com has developed problems and is no longer searchable nor receives maps and diagrams or images anymore. So we have been working on a new site. There is still work to do but it is coming.
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My belated Christmas present to you.
Happy New Year