Moses struck the rock twice . . . and water gushed out.
Saint Dominic, Priest (Memorial)
Moses is a spiritual giant by anyone’s standards. He spoke face-to-face with God and led the Israelites through the Sinai Desert right up to the border of the Promised Land. But even Moses disobeyed God in striking ways. In today’s first reading (Numbers 20:11), he scorns God’s instruction only to command a rock to bring forth water and literally strikes the rock instead.
Admittedly, Moses and his brother, Aaron, were under a lot of pressure. They were grieving the death of their beloved sister, Miriam, and the people’s supply of drinking water was running perilously low. Tens of thousands of Israelites were threatening mutiny. As the leaders responsible for the people and powerless to provide for them, Moses and Aaron must have felt desperate. But God promised that he would provide, and he would do it through the power of the words that he would give them.
It’s a shame that Moses didn’t trust God’s word, isn’t it? That word had the power to heal, to save, and to provide. All he had to do was speak, and it would be done. But Moses didn’t, and he faced the consequences of his actions. “Because you were not faithful to me in showing forth my sanctity,” God told him, “you shall not lead this community into the land” (Numbers 20:12).
But that’s not all that happened. Despite Moses’ disobedience, God still provided a massive flow of water to save his parched people. He saved them anyway!
Isn’t it encouraging to know that God isn’t limited by our sins? He can rise above whatever we do and still reveal his goodness.
Today’s reading tells us that we have the privilege of sharing in Jesus’ work, but it’s still Jesus who does the work. And he sometimes does it in spite of his servants. It’s his word, not necessarily our work, that makes the difference. It doesn’t depend only on us.
God’s word is as living and effective today as it was in Moses’ time. He speaks through the Scriptures and in the silence of our hearts. He speaks to our loved ones, and to us. And when he speaks, his word gives life.
“Come, Lord, and speak your words of life to me and to the people around me today.”
Word Among Us