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Home Forums Evidence for Biblical miracles Naturalistic vs. spectacular supernatural Reply To: Naturalistic vs. spectacular supernatural

  • Deborah Hurn

    Member
    January 8, 2021 at 4:18 am

    Regarding the water from a rock, there is this amusing account by a 20th-century explorer of the Negev and Sinai:

    Jarvis, Claude S. Yesterday and Today in Sinai. London: W. Blackwood and Sons, 1938. pp. 174-75. Read online at:

    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010742602&view=1up&seq=15

    [174] “The striking of the rock at Rephidim by Moses and the gushing forth of the water sounds like a veritable miracle, but the writer has actually seen it happen. Some of the Sinai Camel Corps had halted in a wadi and were digging in the loose gravel accumulated at one of the rocky sides to obtain water that was slowly trickling through the limestone rock. The men were digging in the loose gravel accumulated at one of the rocky sides to obtain water that was slowly trickling through the limestone rock. The men were working slowly, and the Bash Shawish, the Colour-Sergeant, said, “Give it to me,” and seizing a shovel from one of the men he [175] began to dig with great vigour, which is the way with N.C.O.’s the world over when they wish to show their men what they can do, and have, incidentally, no intention of carrying on for more than two minutes. One of his lusty blows hit the rock, when the polished hard face that forms on weathered limestone cracked and fell away, exposing the soft porous rock beneath, and out of the porous rock came a great gush of clear water. It is regrettable that these Sudanese Camel Corps, who were well up in the doings of all the prophets and who were not particularly devout, hailed their N.C.O. with shouts of “What ho, the Prophet Moses!” This is a very feasible explanation of what happened when Moses struck the rock at Rephidim, and, what is more, Moses–being an extraordinarily knowledgable man–had probably a very shrewd idea that something of the sort would happen.”

    His point about Moses’ local experience is supported in the detail that Moses had been a shepherd in this same wilderness for 40 yrs before liberating the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. He probably knew all about how to discern and access water from the karstic channels in the limestone bedrock. This also puts a new interpretation on Moses’ sin in striking the rock when he was instructed on the later occasion to just speak to it (Num 20:2-13). In effect, God was insisting Moses do a ‘real’ miracle, by *not* striking the rock. Moses struck the rock anyway, claiming that “we” (he and Aaron) had produced the water and berating the people for their anxiety. In the circumstances, this would indicate that Moses did not believe that water from limestone was a miracle and also did not expect water to come without a good whack on the rockface.