Meribah's Split Rock – Al Bayad, Saudi Arabia - Atlas Obscura

Meribah's Split Rock

Al Bayad, Saudi Arabia

An enormous split rock which believers hold to be the rock that Moses hit with his staff. 


The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.

So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he had commanded him. Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank.

At Meribah, also known as Kadesh-barnea, in the southwest of the Dead Sea at the top corner of the Sinai Peninsula, is a geological oddity: an enormous five-story rock, with a thin split down the middle, which some believe to be the rock referenced in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. According to the story, god was angry at Moses for hitting the rock twice (or for some other seemingly small slight which is actually a point of some contention among biblical scholars), and denied the prophet the right to “bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

The split rock is located on the west side of Jabal al-Lawz, and the name Meribah means strife.