We have a history of commentaries that paints real physical need—experienced by billions worldwide daily—as stupid ingratitude. If we ask YHWH for literal water, pleading with him and testing his provision, are we being unappreciative?
Humans have grown exponentially in our propensity and power to conquer the earth itself. Despite being newcomers relative to neighboring species, humans usually behave as if we owned the place. But Psalm 95 speaks clearly: When we come into God’s presence—and there is no place God is more vividly present to us than in creation’s midst—the psalm says to come with thanksgiving, the polar opposite of greed.
Water is a right, not a privilege. It is not something won for right belief or fortunate circumstances of birth, but rather a gift of sustenance and refreshment that comes from our Living God.
Israel’s experience of thirst in the wilderness should draw our attention to the experience of those for whom thirst and lack of water is a reality of life in our own day. We must identify and address some of the ways in which we are complicit in the forms of injustice that produce such a situation.