Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Speak to Christ the Rock to Drink the Spirit as the Water of Life!

Speak to Christ, the Rock, to drink the water of life!

Speak to the Rock,
Bid the waters flow,
Doubt not the Spirit,
Given long ago;
Take what He waiteth,
Freely to bestow,
Drink till its fulness
All Thy being know.

This chorus from A.B.  Simpson’s (1843-1918) classic hymn has really spoken to me! It rises up in my heart again and again! “Oh, speak to the Rock, bid the waters flow!”

It is full of light, inspiration and supply not only for me, but for every thirsty seeker of God today.

Inspired by the Lord’s words to Moses in Exodus 17:1-6 and Numbers 20:8-11, Simpson echoed God’s charge to Moses to “speak to the rock…strike not its bosom opened long ago.”

So what does this mean?’…

First, God commanded Moses to “strike the rock.”

In Exodus 17:6, God charged Moses to go before the people of Israel and to stand upon the rock in Horeb and  “strike the rock” that waters  may flow out of it for the people to drink. And Moses did so.

Moses’ “striking of the rock” signified God’s “striking Christ” on the cross for us. Not only did Christ shed His blood for our redemption, but from His pierced side poured out water for our life (John 19:34).

His blood formed a fountain for the washing away of sin (Zech 13:1) and the water became the fountain of life (Psa. 36:9). (See footnote 1, on John 19:34 in the Recovery Version, especially the second paragraph.)

You can thank God for “striking the rock”—for judging His Son for you,

“Dear Father, thank you judging your Son, Jesus Christ on the cross for Me. By His stripes I am healed. His wounded side poured forth redeeming blood for the forgiveness of my sins. But, even more I thank you that the water that flowed from His wounded side became the fountain of life for me to drink and live.”

Second, God commanded him to “speak to the rock.”

Numbers 20:7-8 says,

“ Then Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather the assembly, you and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, so that it yields its water. Thus you shall bring forth water for them out of the rock and give the assembly and their livestock something to drink.”

A footnote on verse 8 in the Recovery Version says,

Since Christ has been crucified and the Spirit has been given, there is no need for Christ to be crucified again, i.e., no need to strike the rock again, that the living water may flow. In God’s economy Christ should be crucified only once (Heb. 7:27; 9:26-28a). To receive the living water from the crucified Christ, we need only to “take the rod” and “speak to the rock.” To take the rod is to identify with Christ in His death and apply the death of Christ to ourselves and our situation. To speak to the rock is to speak a direct word to Christ as the smitten rock, asking Him to give us the Spirit of life (cf. John 4:10) based on the fact that the Spirit has already been given. If we apply the death of Christ to ourselves and ask Christ in faith to give us the Spirit, we will receive the living Spirit as the bountiful supply of life (Phil. 1:19). (Holy Bible Recovery Version, Numbers 20:81, par.2)

This time, God did not tell Moses to “strike the rock” but to “speak to the rock” that it may yield its water.

In the first stanza of his hymn, Simpson conveyed this light by saying,

Fainting in the desert,
Israel’s thousands stand
At the rock of Kadesh.
Hark! the Lord’s command,
Speak to the Rock,
Bid the waters flow,
Strike not its bosom
Opened long ago.
Speak to the Rock,
Till the waters flow.

Here’s my point.  Since Christ has already been crucified, the fountain of life has already been opened to us. We don’t need to  “strike the rock” again. That would imply that what Christ did for us on the cross was not effective—that He needs to die again.

So we don’t need to remain under any kind of condemnation related to our confessed sins. They have been fully dealt with by Christ’s once-for-all redeeming death. His blood is fully effective for us.

Now we only need to “speak to the rock” until the waters flow. Just tell the Lord,

“Thank you Lord Jesus for Your perfect redemption. I’m not bemoaning my sins for You already took them away. I believe that your shed blood was accepted by God for me. Now I just ask You to give me a drink.”

The waters flowing out of the “smitten rock,” Christ, being the Spirit.

Through His death and resurrection, Christ, the Last Adam,  became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). Now He is freely available as the living water so that every thirsty one may come to Him and drink. This fulfills what Jesus said in John 7:37-39,

“…If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the  Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive…”

So in order for the life-giving Spirit to become our spiritual drink (1 Cor. 10:4), Christ, the rock, was cleft,  passing through death and entering into resurrection. Now He is able to be received by  us as this “drinkable” life-giving Spirit. 

How can you “speak to the rock” so that the waters may flow?”

Now that you know that you only need to speak to the rock,  how can you do this?

Simpson’s third stanza gives us the most simple way. There he says,

Blessed Rock of Ages,
Thou art open still;
Thy blest Holy Spirit
All our being fill;
Still Thou dost say,
Wherefore struggle so?
Call for the Spirit,
Whisper soft and low,
Speak to the Rock
Bid the waters flow.

You just need to “call for the Spirit.”

In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says that we were all given to “drink one Spirit.” But in verse 3 of that chapter he tells the way to drink the Spirit by saying,

“…and no one can say Jesus is Lord! [or Lord Jesus] except in the Holy Spirit.”

Calling on the Lord Jesus in such a way is to “speak to the Rock,” it’s to call for the Spirit” as AB Simpson said.

Try it!

Just try  “speaking to the Rock,” that is,  speaking  to the Lord Jesus, by calling on His life-giving name.

“O Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus! I open to You right now. Lord, I receive You as the water of life.”

It’s really the simplest way to drink from the fountain of God’s salvation.

So when you’re spiritually dry, thirsty and dissatisfied, try speaking to the Rock, calling on the Lord Jesus. He’ll become your moment-by-moment supply and refreshment to live the Christian life.

If you’ve enjoyed “speaking to the Rock” to be filled with Him as your spiritual drink, I’d encourage you to leave a confirming comment…and just keep speaking.

References and Resources:

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

14 Replies

  1. Great post, Tom! Speaking to the Rock is a wonderful practice that can usher us into a fuller enjoyment of Christ. When we realize that we are dry spiritually and that we need a drink, we can simply say like, “Lord, give me a drink. Flow in me. Fill me with life.” I’m learning to practice this matter of speaking to the Lord – in short, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy Christ!

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. “Speaking to the Rock to bid the waters flow” is such a revelation of Christ and the Spirit for our enjoyment and supply! God wants us to drink His Spirit as the living waters. Since Christ has died and resurrected, the fountain of life has been opened and we can freely drink just by speaking to Christ, our Rock. “Lord Jesus, I’m thirsty, flow in me. Fill me with life.”

      We can also drink by confessing our sins, sorrows, self and so many other negative things. This can also be our “speaking to the Rock til the waters flow.” Our simple words of thanks and praise can also bring us the flow of the Spirit as the water of life. Thanks for the encouraging comment.

  2. John 4:10 is mentioned above. It’s so simple; here Jesus says that we should ask and He will give.

  3. Elise

    What a wonderfully sweet way to take a spiritual drink and quench our thirst!
    Hallelujah that we can constantly be “drinking at the fountain that never runs dry”
    “Oh Lord Jesus!!!”

  4. Many Christians today prefer to “do something” for God, thinking that’s what God wants them to do. What God desires is to have a group of people who NEVER leave Him as the fountain of living waters, but who rather just DRINK of Him!

    Today I enjoyed this matter more than ever: having an active response to God’s word and His calling by Speaking to the Lord! Lord, give me water to drink! I am thirsty, Lord, give me to drink!

  5. onezime

    Wouuuw what an amazing true!!! I’m so blessed

  6. Clint

    The Lord has been ministering to my heart about “Living Water” in these challenging times.
    “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free GIFT of the Water of Life.” REV. 22
    Also, I am seeing the anger in my own heart as I consider this “Crystal Clear” water. JESUS is so “Crystal Clear” about showing me my anger. On a bike ride today the incident of Moses “striking the Rock” rather than “speaking” to the Rock came to mind. It’s a fearful thought in that its easy to wield Gods Word, even feeling justified, yet doing it in “anger”. I so Love God and pray He washes over me, over us, and all who so need re-freshing. Enjoyed your article. Sincerely, Clint Davis

    1. Tom Smith

      I appreciate your comment. So good to drink the living water especially in these challenging times. Yes, come and drink! May we heed the cry of the Spirit and the bride. May we also cry, whoever thirsts let him take the water of life freely. Thank you for your refreshing comment.

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