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Moses Striking the Rock


Moses Striking the Rock, 1624, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

According to the book of Exodus, the people of Israel had grown tired during their long flight from Egypt and were thirsty, with no water to drink. When Moses, who had led them out of bondage, appealed to God for help, he was ordered to take the staff that had parted the waters of the Red Sea and use it to bring water out of a rock. Here the Israelites gather the water in vessels and lead their animals to drink from the miraculous stream.

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