The sun was a hammer and the earth was its anvil. It hammered down mercilessly, incessantly! Heat waves in shimmering playfulness rose from the rocks in the distance and created mirages that tormented our already agonized souls. Dotting the landscape were stunted trees with drooping leaves bowing to the tyranny of the harsh weather. Scorpions and serpents crawled and slithered among the hot sands futilely looking for non-existent shades. The whole land was as dry as a bone. Yet it was supposed to produce all the water we needed. Though my throat was drier than it had ever been all my life, I snickered at the absurdity of it all.
Fortunately, we were shielded from the heat by the heavy clouds that hovered above us but thirst had driven us to distraction. There was total bedlam in the camp, the sounds of peevish children crying and protesting animals drowning out all others. Many had almost taken up arms against the leader and with his usual equanimity; he had asked all to calm down, that we were going to get more than enough.
This time, I felt he had really overdone it. Of course he had acquitted himself in the past but this time, it was a bit too much. He was way in over his head. Scouts had informed us that there were no traces of any oasis around. I looked up to the clouds and knew there would be no assistance from that department because there was absolutely no sign of rain.
I would have assumed that like me he would have looked up to the skies since that was the remotest hope of salvation, some rain clouds might just gather out of nowhere. However he walked towards a rock in pensive contemplation. That was when I finally and totally came to the conclusion that he had completely lost the plot! He raised his ever ubiquitous rod to strike and I felt the frustration he was trying to vent by beating the rock.
Next thing I heard was the happy gurgling of rushing water, the exultant cry of freedom of a river that had been imprisoned in the rocky bowels of the stony mass. In minutes, shouts of euphoria filled the camp! Children ran about playing, soaked to the skin.
The water was clear and cooler than that of any spring. It was the most unlikely source of provision, the most senseless and impossible option. A rock in a steam or river would still have been mindboggling enough but a rock in a harsh desert, absolutely beyond belief! It was strange.
I came to the conclusion again that the God that Moses went up the mountain to see was one of possibilities! I needed to amp up the amplitude of my faith….