By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 3, the people thirsted… and complained
God hears our cries, especially the ‘cry of the poor.’ God heard the anguished cries of slaves in Egypt. Now free and traversing a wilderness, the people again cry out for lack of water. In their desperation, they go so far as to question their own liberation: did God set us free just to kill us? But it’s too easy for us to point fingers at our ancestors. Yes, God’s people are testing God instead of trusting, content with a mere transaction rather than the gift of transformation. But they are still in the process of accepting their identity as a people chosen and beloved by God. They’re not there yet, literally or metaphorically. They are on the way. And so are we, if we are honest. Our view of God is often just as transactional, and we are just as prone to bargain with God, becoming angry and fearful when we perceive that our security and well-being are threatened. The God who liberates us will never be a Pharaoh from whom we need deliverance. Yet in the same way that God heard their cry in Egypt, God hears their cry in the wilderness—even when it takes the form of an angry accusation. God is always a loving liberator: the same rod that broke the Sea in two now breaks open the rock to allow gushing water to flow for the thirsty.
Prayer God of liberation, we cry out against you, as if you were Pharaoh. Thank you, that in your mercy, you hear us still and quench our thirsty lives.