These past two weeks, my husband and I spent time with his dad who was in a hospice dying of cancer.
Along with other family members, we took turns spending the night with him. We didn’t want him to be alone. For years he had been the rock of his family and now he needed us.
When it was my turn, I prayed for him during the night when I got up to check on him.
During the day, I often bent over him as he lay in his hospital bed and told him that he was safe under the shelter of Christ the rock and that living water was springing up in him to eternal life.
Many times, I would put my hand firmly on his shoulders, squeeze them and say to him, do you you feel the grip I have on your shoulders? Then he would nod or blink and I would tell him:
“Jesus has a hold on you and He’s not letting go. He is your rock and the anchor of your soul. He is taking you into eternity with Him. He’s got you!”
I felt the Lord wanted me to reassure him with this during his final days. He liked it when I did that.
A World War II vet he was nearly 97 years old. A few days before he passed, the family brought mom in for a visit as they celebrated their 71st year together. It was sad watching them holding hands. They both knew it would be their last time together on this earth.
But these words about the rock have been ringing true to me and I wanted to remind myself of their meaning.
In the Old Testament, the Jews perceived God as their Rock, the sustainer of life, who provided bread (manna) and and led them to water during their wilderness wanderings.
The massive rocks that jutted into the sky out of the barren desert spoke to them of the unmoveable, unchangeable, unbreakable and ever-present Jehovah who abided with them.
God led them to streams of water as they travelled. But when they arrived at Meriba-Rephidim, there were no brooks or water nearby. The Israelites complained bitterly and murmured against Moses.
After seeking God, Moses struck a large nearby rock with his rod and water miraculously gushed out of it.
This was not a small trickle. According to Gill’s commentary, the water poured out like an overflowing river. There was enough water for their families and their livestock and they all drank from it.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul understood that the Rock the Jews relied on during their 40-year journey through the wilderness was none other than Christ:
“And they all drank the same spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them (produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality), and the Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians. 10:4 / ref.Num. 14:29-30)
Benson commentary writes:
“That Rock was Christ, THE ROCK OF AGES, who being smitten in His death and sufferings poured forth streams of redemption, grace, and heavenly blessings which follow his people through all this wilderness, and will end in rivers of pleasure at the right hand of God for ever.”
After my father-in-law’s passing, there was one verse that rang true and provided comfort during this very sad time:
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will become a well of water springing up to eternal life. HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38)