1 Corinthians 10:1-4: All our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. . .and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

These verses from the apostle Paul reminded the Jewish people of their wilderness wandering years after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. God guided them with a cloud, signifying His presence (Exodus 13:21), and He gave them safe passage through the Red Sea with the Egyptian army in hot pursuit (see Exodus 14:21-27). In the dry and barren wilderness, God also provided water for His people. It gushed from a rock when Moses struck it with his staff at God’s command (see Numbers 20:8-11). Paul picked up pon this rock imagery and described Jesus as the Spiritual Rock who meets the needs of God’s people. Just as the rock in the desert was the source of water for the Israelites, so also Christ guides and protects those who place their trust in Him.

Was Jesus actually present with the Israelites in the wilderness? Paul declares that Christ their Spiritual Rock “followed them.” Or was Paul speaking metaphorically? We can’t say for sure. We know that Jesus existed with God the Father from eternity, before the world was created (see John 1:1-3). He came to earth in human form many centuries after the Israelites left Egypt. But He had the power to assume any form He desired at any time.

Maybe it’s best to leave this argument to the theologians and scholars. But one thing we can say for sure is that Jesus is a modern day Spiritual Rock, who quenches our thirst and provides strength and stability for daily living. That’s all we as Christians really need to know.