Strike the Rock

Through the Wilderness

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

What if the theme for the week, “Strike the Rock,” becomes a call for deeper living? “Strike the rock” means lean on God, trust in Jesus. Strike the rock means find the joy even in difficult moments, even in the wilderness. Striking the rock is trusting that there is a way forward even when it seems like there is no way. Striking the rock is a declaration of faith, even when it seems like giving up makes more sense.

Exodus 17:1-7, New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Water Out of the Rock

17The whole community of Israel started out from the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place, just as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there wasn’t any water for the people to drink. 2So they argued with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”

3But the people were thirsty for water there. So they told Moses they weren’t happy with him. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Did you want us, our children and our livestock to die of thirst?”

4Then Moses cried out to the Lord. He said, “What am I going to do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me by throwing stones at me.”

5The Lord answered Moses. “Go out in front of the people. Take some of the elders of Israel along with you. Take in your hand the walking stick you used when you struck the Nile River. Go. 6I will stand there in front of you by the rock at Mount Horeb. Hit the rock. Then water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses hit the rock while the elders of Israel watched. 7Moses called the place Massah and Meribah. That’s because the people of Israel argued with him there. They also tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Children’s Message


  • Bible
  • Cardstock paper
  • Crayons or colored pencils for the cutout of Moses (click here to find a free printable Moses)
  • Small, smooth rock
  • Paper towel rinsed with water (don't squeeze all the water from the towel)

Affix the image of Moses to a popsicle stick or craft stick to create a cardstock Moses.) Each child should have his/her own card-stock Moses to use to re-tell this series of sermons with his/her own interpretation.

Share the passage using the props and the cardstock Moses.

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, they traveled across a huge desert. The desert was very dry and sandy, and the Israelites couldn’t find any water anywhere. The people and their animals became very thirsty. What would you do if you were thirsty and couldn’t find a drink? You would complain. That’s exactly what the people did. They complained, again, and Moses cried out to God, “What am I to do with these people?”

God told Moses to go to a certain rock and to hit the rock with a stick. When Moses did this, water came pouring out of the rock. (Place the towel behind the rock and squeeze some water from it as you tell this part of the story.) Because God did something that was impossible for people to do, Moses and the Israelites and all the animals were saved.

God takes care of us, too. God takes care of us, just like God took care of the Israelites by providing water from a rock in the middle of a desert. What are some ways God has provided for us? What are some things that seem impossible that God can do? Remember, anything is possible with God.

Encourage the children to tell the story again to someone in their home this week while using the props. Have them take pictures and send them to the church to post on social media, coinciding with this sermon series.

Prayer: God, thank you for providing water to the Israelites, who were thirsty in the desert. Thank you for reminding us to turn to you when things seem impossible. We love you, God. Amen.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

In This Series...

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes