In the first month, the entire company of the People of Israel arrived in the Wilderness of Zin. The people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and she was buried.
There was no water there for the community, so they ganged up on Moses and Aaron.
They attacked Moses: "We wish we'd died when the rest of our brothers died before God.
Why did you haul this congregation of God out here into this wilderness to die, people and cattle alike?
And why did you take us out of Egypt in the first place, dragging us into this miserable country? No grain, no figs, no grapevines, no pomegranates - and now not even any water!"
Moses and Aaron walked from the assembled congregation to the Tent of Meeting and threw themselves facedown on the ground. And they saw the Glory of God.
God spoke to Moses:
"Take the staff. Assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to that rock that's right in front of them and it will give water. You will bring water out of the rock for them; congregation and cattle will both drink."
Moses took the staff away from God's presence, as commanded.
He and Aaron rounded up the whole congregation in front of the rock. Moses spoke: "Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?"
With that Moses raised his arm and slammed his staff against the rock - once, twice. Water poured out. Congregation and cattle drank.
God said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you didn't trust me, didn't treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren't going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them."
These were the Waters of Meribah (Bickering) where the People of Israel bickered with God, and he revealed himself as holy.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)