5 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pass before the people and with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us, or not?"
Massah (to test) Meribah (contention and quarreling)
Moses faced more than his share of conflict in his leadership experience. The people he was to lead found a way to test him and God at every turn with defiance and rebellion while Moses tried his best to keep the peace through patience and respect.
Meanwhile, God always had a plan for provision and progress which He was diligently working for their good and His glory. The water crisis was no exception. The first step in solving it was the best step. God said, “I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb.” Those were empowering, enabling words – God would be standing on the rock Moses was to deal with. So in the presence of God Moses would do as God instructed, and it was also in the sight of the elders of Israel. Moses wasn’t alone and the Lord proved His presence to them even as they sarcastically wondered if the Lord was among them or not.
Their problem was a lack of faith and experience in the supernatural. Moses had forty years of close working with God during which he learned that God was constantly with him as He did miraculous works, proving His person, presence, and power. Moses would now have to pass his faith along through seemingly endless circumstances that God used to validate Himself and Moses. Yes, there will be several more occasions where that Majik Stick will demonstrate God’s power and Moses’ credibility.