(Background Reading: Exodus 15:22-27; 16; 17:1-7; John 6:31-58)

Psalm 78:15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.

16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.

24 And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.

25 Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.

I Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

MEMORY VERSE: The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant. —Psalm 105:40-42

CENTRAL THOUGHT: After the Red Sea, the Israelites faced bitter water, lack of food, and no water; in all three conditions they murmured against the Lord, Moses cried to the Lord, and the Lord brought them water and food miraculously.


Psalm 78:24 “Manna”: From Hebrew man or mah (what?) and hu (is it). It was described as being a small, round thing, white, like hoar-frost on the ground, the size of coriander seed, and tasted like wafers made with honey, fresh oil, or cakes baked with oil. They could beat it, grind it, and bake or boil it. Someone who gathered too much could share so another person who had too little could be supplied. They were not to gather extra so it could be hoarded for the next day, except on the day before the Sabbath when they were to gather enough for the Sabbath also. When one did try to gather extra and hoard it on days other than the Sabbath, it would stink and breed worms. Manna appeared each day except the Sabbath for as long as the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness. When they harvested the new corn in Canaan, it suddenly disappeared and no more was supplied (Joshua 5:12). It has been called the bread of heaven, corn of heaven, angels’ food, and bread of the mighty. (References include: Exodus 16:14-36; Numbers 11:7-9; 11:5; Joshua 5:12; Psalm 78:24-25).

I Corinthians 10:3 “Spiritual meat”: food that came from heaven.


After their victory at the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled for three days in the wilderness with no water. Coming to Marah, they complained because the water they found there was bitter. God instructed Moses to throw a tree into the water, making it sweet, and establishing a statute that He would heal all their diseases if they would diligently hearken and obey all of God’s commandments. Soon they camped at Elim, an oasis with twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees.

Coming into the wilderness of Sin, west of Mount Sinai, the whole congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron (Exodus 16:3). At this third murmuring God told Moses, “I will rain bread from heaven for you.” He also provided quail for them that evening before sending the manna the next morning.

Some people went against God’s instructions for gathering the manna and tried to save a portion for the next day, for which they were rewarded with wormy, smelly manna. Others tried to gather on the Sabbath, but God rebuked them, commanded them to rest in their places on the Sabbath, and eat the manna which had been baked the day before. As a testimony of His provision to the generations, God commanded Moses and Aaron to preserve an omer of manna in a golden pot. In the New Testament, Jesus applied the concept of the manna to Himself (John 6).

Their next stop was Rephidim, where again the people murmured. This fourth murmuring was especially offensive to God, who called it “tempting” Him, because they said, “Is the LORD among us, or not?” (Later, in Deuteronomy 6:16, He even made a specific command, “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.”) This time, there wasn’t just bitter water, there was NO water. Moses feared for his life as he once again cried to the Lord. God told him to take his rod and smite the rock in Mt. Horeb. He promised to go before him and stand upon the rock, and that water would come out of it for the people to drink. Psalm 78:16 says the water ran down like rivers. It was no feeble stream that came out and watered over a million people and herds of animals! The apostle Paul wrote that the rock was Jesus Christ; indeed, it is a perfect type of Christ being the fountain-source of our salvation. Christ’s body was broken and wounded so that we could be redeemed; also from His sacrifice came the promised Holy Spirit, the living Water (John 7:38-39).

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Give the different Biblical terms for manna.
  2. Explain the instructions for gathering manna during the week.
  3. Explain the special instructions for gathering on the Sabbath.
  4. Describe the four instances of murmuring.
  5. Why was the fourth so offensive to God?
  6. Share how the manna points to Jesus Christ.
  7. Share how the smitten Rock points to Jesus Christ.


After the Red Sea, it would seem that the Israelites would never doubt or murmur again. Yet in every difficulty they went into panic mode. They accused Moses, and ultimately God, of bringing them into the wilderness to kill them. God answered by turning bitter water into sweet. He led them into a pleasant oasis. He sent quails flying right into their camp. Morning by morning they picked up an amazing, multivitamin super-food—pleasantly flavored, a little sweet. They watched the rock split under Moses’ rod, and quenched their thirst with torrents of water gushing down the mountainside.

Are you tasting the bitter waters of affliction? Jehovah-Rapha is there to be your healer. “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” You can answer that like David, “Thou preparest a table before me,” because Jesus is the true bread from heaven. He is the heavenly manna. And He is also the source of Living Water. No matter where we are or how hot and dry is our desert situation, Jesus is everlasting life to us.

Let us refuse to doubt His sustaining presence. If it angered the Lord when, after many miraculous deliverances, the Israelites threw at God, “Are you with us or not,” how grieved must He be when we resentfully look at our circumstances and wonder if our Lord has deserted us?

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


By the time the children of Israel reached the wilderness, there was much evidence of God’s power and care for them. They saw the plagues brought upon the Egyptians. They witnessed the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night which led them. They passed through the Red Sea and saw the Egyptian army destroyed before their eyes. They ate bread from heaven, and drank water from a rock. Still they murmured and stumbled in unbelief.

Unbelief is often a result of being shortsighted, of focusing on the immediate need or crisis. It overlooks or is forgetful of the faithfulness of God. It doesn’t perceive the Hand that is guiding toward the eternal. In contrast, faith is based on the “evidence” of a God who revealed Himself through His Word. Faith is also established through creation which proclaims a most wondrous Creator. And finally, it is confirmed by His personal workings with every single soul. When faith is being tested, two things will help it to not be shaken: looking back at the faithfulness of God and forward to things eternal.

The songwriter of “How Firm a Foundation” asks a challenging question: “What more can He say, than to you He hath said…?” Today, you get to decide if the evidence God has given you is enough. Will you believe, or will you continue in unbelief?

—Sis. Sarah L. Herron