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(For this sermon you will need a large rock and a rod or long piece of a stick. A walking stick looks very authentic. Place these out of sight before the service begins.)
“How are all of you today?” [Allow time for some response.]
“I have a problem. I’m thirsty and I want a drink of water.” [Get the rock and place it on the stage area and then retrieve the stick.] “Does anybody here think they can get some water out of this rock?” [They will probably say ‘no.’] “Billy, why don’t you try? Here, use this stick if you need to.”
[Stand guard as Billy tries to solve the problem. Warn him about swinging the stick indiscriminately. He may just give up.]
“OK, Susan, why don’t you give it a try?” [Hand her the stick and coach her along as she tries. When she realizes there is no way to get water from the rock, ask her to sit down.]
“Does anybody else want to try?” [Let others try if they wish.]
“Getting water from a rock is pretty hard, huh? None of us could get some water out of it, could we? Did all of you think I was crazy for asking you to try? Did you know that Moses got some water from a rock?
“When the Israelites were in the wilderness headed toward Mount Sinai they became thirsty. They started complaining to Moses about having no water. The Bible says they murmured. What’s a ‘murmur’?” [See if they know. If they do not, show them what murmuring is.] “Let’s murmur together.” [Let them murmur for a moment.]
“Well, the Israelites murmured against Moses and then Moses called out to God and God told Moses to get his rod [point to the stick] and go to the rock at Horeb [walk over to the rock] which was another name for Mount Sinai. When he arrived there God told him to touch the rock [touch it firmly] and enough water would come out to quench Israel’s thirst.
“I bet he felt just like all of you felt today. I bet he said to himself “God, you must be crazy. I can’t get any water from this rock. But, you know what? It happened! Moses used the rod and touched the rock and water flowed out of the rock and all the Israelites were saved from dying of thirst in the hot desert.
“What does this story tell us?” [Allow them time to respond.] “This story is about God helping the Israelites even when they thought God had left them alone in the wilderness to die of thirst.
“This story tells us that we should always believe God will help us, even when we think God has forgotten about us. God loves us very much. God will always listen to us when we cry out for help.
“Let’s remember to never murmur against God, like the Israelites did, but let’s always ask God for help when we need it. And, if God asks us to do something silly like get water from a rock, what are we going to do?” [Allow time for a response.] “We are going to believe God, right?” (J. Timothy Allen)