Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Rock

Every time I read about God our Rock in the Bible, I go back to Exodus and the wilderness, where the people were griping about not having enough to drink. There, God commanded Moses to strike the rock and bring forth water for them, and he does, and the people drink to their heart's content. Interestingly, 99% of the references to God as Rock come after this moment; there's only one in Genesis, and it comes late. 

So then I'm reading in Isaiah, and I see the prophet talk about the "everlasting rock," which is our God (Isaiah 26). 

This brings to mind something that Jesus said much later, to a woman He met in Samaria at a well. She had come to draw water in the heat of the day, hoping to avoid unnecessary interaction with other women from the town who were a bit...judgy. She had a reputation, and it was just easier for her to work herself under the hot afternoon sun than to deal with others in the morning or evening, as would have been customary for such a task. 

Jesus calls to her and asks for a drink, then tells her that He could actually give her a drink if she would just understand and believe in who He is - living water. 

These two images come together for me, then, when I read Isaiah's words talking about an "everlasting rock." It's a rock in the wilderness, divinely struck, from which flows the living water that Jesus talks about, the Living Water that He claims to be. 

Our Everlasting Rock flows with Living Water. 

It's a beautiful image, and it's more than just that. It draws together for us these two places - actually, three - that so dominate our experience in the flesh.

It draws upon the wilderness, where we wander and hunger and thirst and hope and ache and question and long. These are the places where our greatest questions linger, where we stand on the edge between one thing and another, where we're no longer where we were but we're not yet where we're going. When it seems most barren, this is where this image takes us - to the Rock. 

It draws upon the well, where we toil and labor for the things that we need for our living. These are the places that seem unavoidable, that must be encountered, that must be met. Here is where we seek provision, but also protection (as the woman sought in her solitude). When it seems most mundane, this is where this image takes us - to Living Water. 

And it draws upon the exile, which is where Isaiah spends so much of his time. The people of Israel are staring down Babylon, and hope is fading fast. Their eyes are set on a place they do not want to go, but to which their feet march them anyway. When it seems most defeated, this is where this image takes us - to our Everlasting. 

Everlasting Rock. Living Water. Grace. This is the Lord. This is our Lord. 

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