As we have done in previous Lent and Advent seasons, we are again blogging our way through the Lenten Lectionary Texts. In this season, our prayer is that we will bless and inspire you in your walk between the Now and Not-Yet of the Kingdom. We pray that our meditations will be life-giving to you in your journey.
A reading from the Book of Exodus.
The Israelites left the desert and moved from one place to another each time the LORD ordered them to. Once they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for them to drink.
The people started complaining to Moses, “Give us some water!”
Moses replied, “Why are you complaining to me and trying to put the LORD to the test?”
But the people were thirsty and kept on complaining, “Moses, did you bring us out of Egypt just to let us and our families and our animals die of thirst?”
Then Moses prayed to the LORD, “What am I going to do with these people? They are about to stone me to death!”
The LORD answered, “Take some of the leaders with you and go ahead of the rest of the people. Also take along the walking stick you used to strike the Nile River, and when you get to the rock at Mount Sinai, I will be there with you. Strike the rock with the stick, and water will pour out for the people to drink.” Moses did this while the leaders watched.
The people had complained and tested the LORD by asking, “Is the LORD really with us?” So Moses named the place Massah, which means “testing” and Meribah, which means “complaining.”
This is the Word of The Lord.
The people of Israel are thirsty. Their animals are thirsty. Undoubtedly, Moses is thirsty too. Yet, they’re roaming around the Sinai peninsula—a place without a whole lot of fresh water sources—and they’re not exactly happy about it. Yet, God comes through. He uses Moses, a staff and a rock to provide for the people. To answer their desperate prayers.
The people of Israel are not the only ones praying desperate prayers. Our friends at Living Water International tell us that 783 million people around the globe have no access to clean water. To break that down even more, Water.org further reports that 3.4 million people die each year from water-related illnesses, and every 21 seconds a child dies from water related illness.
Last December, Stephanie and I saw firsthand the impact that the lack of access to clean water has on a community. We were able to partner with our home church, Acts 2 United Methodist Church and Living Water International to bring clean water to a village in the mountains of Guatemala. Additionally, on that same trip a second team from Acts 2 UMC brought water to a coastal community of Guatemala.
The village, in which Stephanie and I were privileged to work, had been praying for three years that God would help them find clean water for their people. As we worked, we were surrounded by villagers who served. They served coffee, food, bottled water, and hot chocolate. They also served by digging trenches, and by keeping the drilling mud flowing from the rig to the pits. Most importantly, they served by praying as we worked.
As we encountered problems, the villagers would pray. As they prayed, miracles happened. The atmosphere shifted. And, now, they have clean water. And health. And stronger faith.
We wanted to share a few photos of our time in Guatemala, and a video produced by Living Water International.