I Corinthians 10:4
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Our generation has distinct conventions for naming church songs that are treated as unbreakable rules. The title is virtually always a key phrase in the chorus. But the early generations of English-language hymnwriters were not under these constraints and were far more creative. Often the Isaac Watts or John Newton would give a hymn would be a phrase that hinted at the theme of the song but did not appear anywhere in the song. Sometimes it would be a direct quote from the passage that inspired the song’s lyrics in a more general way. Such was the case here, with this hymn which John Newton entitled “That Rock Was Christ”:
When Israel’s tribes were parched with thirst,
Forth from the Rock the waters burst;
And all their future journey through,
Yielded them drink and gospel too!
In Moses’ rod, a type they saw,
Of his severe and fiery law;
The smitten rock prefigured him,
From whose pierced side all blessings stream.
But ah! the types were all too faint,
His sorrows or his worth to paint;
Slight was the stroke of Moses’ rod,
But he endured the wrath of God.
Their outward rock could feel no pain,
But ours was wounded, torn and slain;
The rock gave but a wat’ry flood,
But Jesus poured forth streams of blood.
The earth is like their wilderness,
A land of drought and sore distress;
Without one stream from pole to pole,
To satisfy a thirsty soul.
But let the Savior’s praise resound!
In him refreshing streams are found;
Which pardon, strength, and comfort give,
And thirsty sinners drink and live.
I Corinthians 10:16-17
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
There are countless communion songs that could be listed here as references. But the ones featured here are generally ones that place communion in the context of our unity as one body in Christ. Take, for example, Isaac Watts’ superb “Jesus Invites His Saints”:
Jesus invites His saints
To meet around His board;
Here pardoned rebels sit and hold
Communion with their Lord.
For food He gives His flesh,
He bids us drink His blood;
Amazing favor! matchless grace
Of our descending God!
This holy bread and wine
Maintains our fainting breath,
By union with our living Lord,
And interest in His death.
Our heav’nly Father calls
Christ and His members one;
We the young children of His love,
And He the first-born Son.
We are but several parts
Of the same broken bread;
One body hath its several limbs,
But Jesus is the Head.
Let all our powers be joined
His glorious name to raise;
Pleasure and love fill every mind,
And every voice be praise.
Great God should we thy grace abuse (I Corinthians 10:6-13)
The Smitten Rock (I Corinthians 10:4)
George C. Needham
We Have a Way of Escape (I Corinthians 10:13)
Robin Allman | Popularized by Greater Vision