When Christ met the woman of Samaria he promised her that she will never thirst if she partook of the waters that he will give her.

John 4:10-14 NIV

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”3 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Yet during the exodus twice the Israelites drank the spiritual water and still they remained thirst,sexual immoral,idolaters and stubborn

Exodus 17:17 NIV

17 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Numbers 20:2 NIV

2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord!

Paul reiterates that the water they drank during the exodus was a spiritual drink which came from a spiritual rock who was Christ

1 Corinthians 10:3 NIV

3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Could there have been a change now?

5 Answers 5


The question makes a leap of logic that is unwarranted.

In all the cases cited, Ex 17:17, Num 20:2, literal (as distinct from spiritual or figurative) water is in view.

This leaves us with 1 Cor 10:3 and John 4:10-14. During the conversation with the woman at Jacob's well, Jesus used the metaphor of water to teach about about divine grace and the gospel of Christ.

1 Cor 10:3 also uses the same metaphor - Israel learned eternal truths as contained in the Torah - the sacrifices and tabernacle were to teach about God's free grace, forgiveness and the coming Messiah. Heb 9:8, 9, 10:1, Col 2:16, 17. In deed, 1 Cor 10:4 says that they drank [spiritual water] from the spiritual rock of Christ. This is different from the literal water.

The literal water that the people drank was not the spiritual water offered by Jesus. Therefore, there is no contradiction. They are completely separate matters.

  • @Dotard,Paul clearly says that the water they drank in the wilderness was spiritual Dec 7, 2020 at 9:24
  • 2
    @collenndhlovu - agreed - that is the point - they drank spiritual water from the spiritual Rock (= Christ, 1 Cor 10, 4); BUT they also drank literal water and the two should not be confused.
    – Dottard
    Dec 7, 2020 at 9:33

Water is important to sustain life, in this way, Jesus was saying that He is the way to get everlasting life. He must have noticed the woman's will to learn about the events foretold. Her spiritual thirst was great.

Background info: Jews were not common to speak with Samaritans, and to speak to a woman was also frowned upon. Later in the story it says the woman went home and let the others know she had found the Messiah. She was eager to learn.

Also, Revelation 22:1,2 tells you about a water stream:

"... proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1, KJV)


1Corinthians 10:3,4 happens to be mentioned explicitly in Thayer's Greek Lexicon's description of Strong's NT4152:

produced by the sole power of God himself without natural instrumeutality, supernatural, βρῶμα, πόμα, πέτρα, 1 Corinthians 10:3,4

The "spiritual water" of Exodus was simply water that was produced by supernatural means.

There is no reason to believe the water itself had any intrinsic spiritual nature.


There is an important connection between the water from the rock and the living water that flows through Christ.

God provided water to His people - there was no other source of water for life, they totally depended on God for His gracious provision. Gracious, because they were a miserable lot and mostly ungrateful for their rescue from slavery.

The water Jesus supplies comes also from his Father God. There is no other source for this water - it is the spirit of life, of all manner of good things God intends His creation to thrive on. This water is of the Kingdom, it is completely spiritual in nature.

Nehemiah 9:20 You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths, and You gave them water for their thirst.

Psalm 78:24 He rained down manna for them to eat; He gave them grain from heaven.

The physical provisions were a type of a later spiritual provision - even though it was physical food and drink, it was 'from heaven' - a heavenly, holy, Godly provision - not of Moses - just as the spiritual water is not from Christ. Through Christ, from the Father. (just as Christ is a heavenly, holy Godly provision for all men)

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall Cor 10:11

Just as Moses mistakenly thought he could 'provide' water, we too can often think we are able to provide (or 'stand') for our needs and minimise the gracious provision of God.

Only the living water will do - while the world provides many things that seem good food and drink for the soul - they are a fake and we are easily deceived - remaining thirsty deep within as Jesus explained to the woman.


The 'Christ that followed them' is not a literal expression (as if Christ was wandering around the wilderness too), but one linking the coming of the Saviour that happened 'in these last days' Heb 1.

On many past occasions and in many different ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets. 2 But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son

Christ the son of God doesn't 'follow' anyone because he is above all! He 'followed' millennia later, coming after the Israelites to bring the new covenant of spirit and life.

For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set you free from the law of sin and death. Rom 8:2

For the Lamb who is at the centre of the throne will shepherd them; he will guide them to springs of the waters of life Rev 7:17


In 1 Corinthians 10:4 it says ""all drank the same spiritual drink". Here is this "spiritual" because it was to strengthen the spirits of those who drank? In which case we may wonder why those drinking continued to remain idolaters and stubborn.

Or, is this drink "spiritual" because it was provided by God's Spirit, "For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them [1 Cor 10:4], and that Rock was Christ?

To answer your question I look at my question: The "Rock was Christ" but from Christ flowed physical water in the desert. This water did not satisfy their spiritual needs but was given by Christ's Spirit which they did not see but which "followed them". It was "spiritual" also because it would be a picture of the out pouring of the Spirit.

In the desert the water came from a rock but "He who believes in Me,..out of His heart will flow rivers of living water". John 7:38.

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