Eating the meat of the lamb marks the beginning of our life, while eating the manna is for the sustenance of life and growth in life. Since this is the case, drinking the water must mean the enjoyment of life. Water signifies awakening, refreshment, and a kind of renewing power. Since water serves such a function, there is water in the wilderness as well as in Egypt. The meat of the lamb is for our life; it signifies the Christ who lives in us. The indwelling Christ requires the nourishment of the enthroned Christ before He has the strength to take the journey. But if we only have these two things, there is not much enjoyment, and a Christian will have a long face all day long. He will live in a miserable way and murmur like the Israelites, who complained that they only had this coriander-seed-like food; it was so plain that they were tired of it. Therefore, one cannot get by without the water of enjoyment.
How did this water come? Exodus 17:5 says that the first thing needed was the ancient rod. The Bible calls this the rod "wherewith thou smotest the river" (Exo. 17:5); it does not call it the rod of God. This served to remind the Israelites of the story of the smiting of the Egyptian river. The waters of Egypt became blood at the smiting of God’s rod. Blood denotes death, and this signifies that all the enjoyment and pleasure of Egypt were under God’s judgment. All of the entertainment in this world is blood. Many of these things were quite enjoyable to the Egyptians; they were as drinkable as water. But to us, they are blood; we cannot draw pleasure from them. We could do certain things in the past, but now they have all been turned to blood. This is why many people have said that being a Christian involves too much bondage. Does this mean that a Christian has no enjoyment at all? They have enjoyment, but the nature of Christian enjoyment is different from that of the Egyptians. This is why God reminded them of the ancient rod.
We have seen that we receive our life from Christ, and our life is sustained also by Christ. But where does the enjoyment come from? Some mothers derive enjoyment from their children. Our enjoyment, however, comes from the rock smitten by the rod. God told Moses to go up to Mount Horeb, which is one of the peaks of Mount Sinai, and He said, "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" (v. 6). Our water comes from the rock before God. First Corinthians 10 says that this rock is Christ (v. 4). The smiting of the rod signifies His death, and the outflow of water signifies the Holy Spirit. Our joy and enjoyment are found in the Holy Spirit. This joy is enough to compensate for all our loss. In this age of darkness, many times our feet are sore, our hands heavy, and we do not find any enjoyment at all. During these times, the joy from God will compensate for all of our loss. Isaiah referred to the Lord as the One who grew up out of dry ground (Isa. 53:2). What does this mean? Roots cannot grow in dry ground. This shows us that the One the Lord trusted in was God. The world could not supply Him with anything. The same is true with the world today. We thirst for water, but only find blood. Even if we drink, we cannot quench our thirst. However, Christ is the living water; He can quench our thirst and satisfy us.
Today our God is standing on the mount. He is standing before the rock which has passed through death. Therefore, spiritual joy is not far from us, but right in front of us. Many years ago, during an earthquake in Italy, many people were moving things out of their houses and running for their lives with their young and their old. At that time, one woman stood at her door and roared with laughter. Although her house had collapsed and her possessions were buried, she was not concerned at all; she was laughing. When others asked why she was laughing so hard, she said, "All it takes is for my God to shake a little, and you can do nothing except run. How great is our God!" Indeed, often before our tears have dried, we are already filled with laughter and joy.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 21: The Christian (1934-1940), Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)