The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, by Witness Lee


In Exodus 15 the children of Israel enjoyed the sweet waters and in chapter sixteen they ate the heavenly manna. In chapter seventeen they came to a place where they were short of water again. Whenever they were short of water, there was chiding, murmuring, complaining, and fighting among them (17:1-4). They became sick again because they were short of water. At a certain time, the ordinance of praising in a local church may be gone. Instead of praising there may be murmuring and criticizing. At that time the church will be sick. Today we may have the ordinance of praising, but later we may have the ordinance of criticizing.

Because the children of Israel were short of water, again they began to chide with Moses and murmur against him. “And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel” (17:3-7).

It seemed that the Lord was saying to Moses, “Take your rod to do something. I have given you the power, the authority. The rod is in your hand. Didn’t you use the rod to do many things in My authority, in My power? Now take the rod and smite the rock.” This signifies that Christ as the living rock was smitten by the power of the law. Moses represents the law. Christ on the cross was smitten by the authority, by the power, of the law. Then the living water came out of Christ, the smitten rock. John 19:34 tells us that out of the side of the crucified Christ came forth blood and water. The blood was for redemption, and the water was for life impartation. Christ as the living rock had to be smitten by the power of the law in order for the living water to flow out from Him.

In a sense, as the members of Christ, we all have to be smitten by the power of the law. We have to be dealt with by God’s authority. Christ was dealt with by the power of the law, and today as members of Christ we all have to be dealt with by God’s authority. Then we will have the living water.

In Exodus 15 is Christ as the tree and in chapter seventeen is Christ as the rock. The tree signifies the resurrected Christ, and the rock signifies the smitten, crucified Christ. If we are going to have the living water, the sweet water, the flowing water, in the local churches, we have to apprehend and experience the crucified and resurrected Christ. The resurrected Christ is the tree to us, and the crucified Christ is the rock to us. First Corinthians 10:4 tells us that the children of Israel all drank the same spiritual drink of the spiritual rock which followed them, which was Christ.

(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)