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, Psalm 78:1-4, & 12-16


Our passage this week focuses on a miracle story. Miracles should inspire a sense of amazement or wonder, yet the Israelites seem to have lost their sense of wonder at this point in their journey. They have begun to complain and want God to prove that God is with them by providing water. Are they showing faith? When it comes to being followers of Jesus, we know that believing (which is a way of thinking) is effective only when the thinking comes out in living. This lesson ends with a discussion on living our faith and what that means today.

Icebreaker (10 minutes)

  • Share the story of a time you were so thirsty you thought you might “die of thirst.”
  • Do you know the difference between spring water and purified water?
  • How much water is recommended for a person to drink a day?
  • Why is water so important to us physically?
  • Do you think we can become dehydrated in our faith?

Activity (10 minutes)


  • 1 sponge (size doesn’t really matter) for each student
  • 1 bucket of water
  • 1 bowl for each student

Give each student a sponge. Have them each, one by one, take a turn putting the sponge in the bucket and squeezing out as much water as possible into the bowl. See who can squeeze out the most water!

*After this simple game, give one student a rock. Ask him/her to soak it in the water and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.

If you are meeting virtually, ask students to do the same. If they don’t have a bucket, a pot from the kitchen will work well.

Scripture (10 minutes)

Read Exodus 17:1-7.

Discussion (20 minutes)

  • What’s happening in this passage?
    • Why are the Israelites so upset?
  • Why is Moses upset?
  • What does God do?
  • The Israelites are pushing against God. Is it OK to ask God to prove himself? Why or why not?
  • Define the word faith.
  • Do you think faith is taught or ‘caught’? Why is this important?

Read Deut. 6:6-8.

  • According to these verses, what did Moses want the Israelites to do with their faith? Why?
  • Who, in your life, has taught you the most about faith?

Read Heb. 11:1 and James 2:17

  • What do these verses teach us about faith?
  • Why is it important to live out what we believe?
  • How can you put your faith into your daily life?


Icebreaker Information:

Difference between spring water and purified water:

How much water should we drink? In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 to 150 ounces of water a day.

Why is water so important? Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it's important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

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