Excerpt from What’s in It for Me? How Could God Be So Cruel to Moses?

Finding Ourselves In The Bible

Tomorrow Jewish congregations around the word will read the story of “Moses hitting the rock” (Numbers 20). It is a controversial story with a vital lesson for all of us.

After nearly forty years of leading the Children of Israel through the wilderness, Moses is near the end of his rope. He snaps when the Israelites complain yet again that they have no water. God tells Moses to address a certain rock, and water will come forth. Instead of addressing the rock, Moses, still in mourning over the death of his sister, Miriam, loses his temper and shouts, “Listen you rebels. Shall we indeed bring forth water from this rock (Numbers 20:10)?” And then he bangs his staff three times against the rock as water comes gushing forth.

God is furious! Moses has made it appear that he – not the Almighty had caused the rock to issue water. However…

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