During Israel’s journey through the desert after fleeing Egypt they naturally became thirsty. Instead of asking Moses for help, they grumbled and complained. Moses helped anyway. Moses went to the Lord and was told to strike “the Rock”. You know the one, “the Rock”.
Moses struck “the Rock” with his staff; the Rock split and water spewed out. This was no little trickle from a faucet. This was a river of water. There had to be enough water for what is estimated to be between 1 million and 2 million men, women, and children. Plus there needed to be enough water for the cattle, goats, and sheep. There was probably enough water to form a lake in the desert.
Like some other Biblical events, this story was a foreshadowing of things to come. We learn in First Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 4 that this Rock is Christ. So in the same way that there was enough water flowing from the Rock to save an entire nation in the desert; on the cross Jesus was pierced and there was enough blood to flow forth to save all nations for all times.
There was a second incident in the desert where Israel was thirsty and grumbled and complained. This time the Lord told Moses to speak to the Rock for more water. We see in Hebrews 9:28 that the sacrifice of Jesus was once and for all. There was no need for Christ to be struck a second time. But Moses willfully disobeyed God and he struck the Rock instead of speaking to it.
No wonder Moses was prohibited from entering the promise land. Not only did he willfully disobey God, but he struck His Son, causing the story for succeeding generations to lose its point. So in Christ’s second coming there will be a cry or a shout (speak to Christ). First Thessalonians 4: 16 says “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” So speaking to the Rock was to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s second coming. The water flowing forth this time is the living water for all of us who are in Christ, to give us eternal life.
Here is another possibility on what was foreshadowed in the second incident with the rock. When a typical Jewish family observed the Sabbath, it was a quiet and solemn occasion (Nehemiah 8:11). The children wouldn’t run around and be boisterous; rather the entire family would talk in hushed tones and be very quiet and reserved. The natural subsequent response to a day of quiet would be to be louder the next day. Therefore, they might begin by speaking in normal tones, increase in volume, and possibly shout as a release from the forced quiet. This can be compared to the day that Jesus rose from the grave. In retrospect, talking or shouting at the rock in the second incident pointed to the first day of the week when Jesus would defeat death.
(If you have another idea on this topic please leave a comment below.)