When we first read this account, we may be sympathetic to Israel. Sure, they shouldn’t have grumbled, but their concern was valid. They needed water to drink, to live. But when we press into this passage more, our sympathy should wane, and in its place, we should develop a keen appreciation of God’s love and mercy.
How many times had God given them life to this point? Shouldn’t they have known that God was more than able to preserve their lives?
How many times had God shown His power? Shouldn’t they have known that God was more than able to give them water to drink?
And who was leading them to the precise location where they found no water? Shouldn’t they have known that God was more than able to guide them on the path they needed to be on?
But instead, they complained, as if God is either (A) unable to provide for the needs of His people, (B) uncaring about the needs of His people, or (C) unaware of the needs of His people. Take your pick. Israel either viewed God as weak, sinister, or clueless. That was the nature of their grumbling, and it is the nature of ours as well. As we dive deeper into this passage, we see the depth of Israel’s sin, and ours.
How have you grumbled against God recently? What does this time of complaining show about how you viewed God in that situation?