Exodus 17:1-7 – Smite!


Reflecting and Doing

Where do we put our trust when things look impossible?
This funny skit is in the style of a cheesy advert, and is a good opener for discussion.


  • Salesman – snazzy suit, all cheesy grins and exclamation marks
  • Moses – biblical robes, has a big stick
  • Water seller – modern dress, has bottles of water

Salesman is a voice-over in ‘Shouty Man’ style adverts.
Moses mimes the script, nodding at the sad bits and animatedly demonstrating the staff.

Are you thirsty?
Lost in the desert with no water?
Longing for the cucumbers and watermelons you left behind in Egypt?

Then look no further than Staff-o-Moses!

Staff-o-Moses is the one-hand wonder-tool!
Need a snake? [bang] Staff-o-Moses!
A plague of frogs? [bang] Staff-o-Moses!
Three days of darkness? [bang] Staff-o-Moses!

As seen on Pharaoh TV!

You thought it was good before, but this is the new, improved Staff-o-Moses 1500BC!
All the amazing powers you know and love,
and now, instant water wherever you need it!
Just Smite! – and the Thirst is Gone!

[water-seller enters]

Yes, that’s right.
The magical Staff-o-Moses can give you as much water as you will ever need.
Just smite any passing water-seller for instant hydration.

Ummn, can I just …

Smite! There’s water for you.
[Moses (gently!) smites water-seller]

[hands over a bottle of water]

Smite! And water for you.

[hands over a bottle of water]

Smite! And some for you

Right, that’s it.
I’ve had enough of this.
Just keep the water, alright?
[exits, grumbling]
You and your bloomin’ Staff-o-Wotsit.
Not standing round here to get smited by some old gimmer.
[to Salesman]
Look, this really isn’t right.

It’s not about a magic Staff-o-Moses that does tricks.
It’s about God providing what his people need when everything looks impossible.

But what about my jingle?
Just Smite! – and the Thirst is Gone!
It’s a good jingle.

Yes, it’s a good jingle, but I didn’t do it by hitting some poor passing water-seller.
Sorry about that, by the way.

God told me to smite a rock to get the water.

A rock? No, you can’t smite a rock. Rocks don’t have water.
You could try smiting one of those water-cooler machines.
You know, the bubulubulub. That’d give you water.
But a rock, not so much.

I know. That’s the whole point.
It was an impossible situation and an impossible solution, but God did it anyway.

Shall we try it again?

OK, but I’m keeping the jingle.

[Moses and Salesman start again]

Are you thirsty?
Lost in the desert with no water?
Longing for the cucumbers and watermelons you left behind in Egypt?

Then look no further than Staff-o-Moses!
Powered by 100% organic Yahweh.

Works with any brand of rock.
Just Smite! – and the Thirst is Gone!

[said rapidly as ‘terms and conditions’]

Caution – smiting twice may produce adverse effects – only to be used as instructed.
If unusually symptoms occur flush copiously with water and seek divine advice.
Not for sale in the land of Egypt: pharaohs and Egyptian armies need not apply.
Patriarchs under the age of eighty must be supervised.

[in big voice again]

For your ‘spring of water welling up to eternal life’ just call 0-800-4-14 JOHN


Exodus 17:1-7 New International Version

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. So they quarrelled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarrelled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”


New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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