They leave the land of Sin and head to Rephidim. They don't have water there either and complain. God has Moses smite a rock with his staff and a spring issues forth. This is called Masah. Then, the Amalek's come and start a war. Joshua is chosen to lead the army. Moses and Aaron and Hur go to a hill and keep Moses's arms up with his staff aloof so that the Israelites will win. The battle wages all day. Finally Israel wins. They build an altar and call the place Jehovahnissi. God promises that he will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
In other words:
They find a spring and settle down near it but then have to fight with another group over water rights.
Exodus 17:12 “But Moses’ hand were heave; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Because, you see, it takes a lot of work to keep your staff above your head, but everytime he let it down, the Israelites started to do badly against the Amalek’s so it was critical that he keep the staff in the air. I love the detail of exactly how they managed that for an entire day.
Most annoying bit:
Exodus 17:16 – The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. Not the best of all promises if you ask me. Who on earth would hear about endless war and think – yeah – that’s for me.