Scripture Verse

They drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4


George C. Needham

Words: George C. Need­ham, 1876.

Music: Gras­mere Ira D. San­key, 1876 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Ira D. Sankey

When Mr. San­key lived at Co­has­set, Mas­sa­chu­setts, in the sum­mer of 1876, af­ter the great Bos­ton meet­ings, he ve­ry na­tur­al­ly de­sired to bring the Gos­pel to the peo­ple liv­ing in that neigh­bor­hood. Ac­cord­ing­ly, he in­vit­ed me, wrote Mr. Need­ham on one oc­ca­sion, to spend a week with him in a ser­ies of evan­gel­is­tic meet­ings.

Before the break­fast hour one morn­ing, while Mr. San­key was play­ing on his or­gan, I re­marked: I wish we had a good hymn on the Smit­ten Rock, as I hope to speak on that sub­ject to-night. Mr. San­key replied with en­thu­si­asm: Here is a new hymn which came to me last night in my sleep; I be­lieve the Lord gave it to me. I wish I had words for it. Why don’t you write a piece on The Rock? I re­plied, Why, I can’t write such a hymn as you want, and you know that I don’t un­der­stand music; how to fit words to your mu­sic would puz­zle an un­mu­sic­al man.

The en­thu­si­as­tic so­lo­ist, still play­ing, said: You’ll find pen and pa­per on the ta­ble; this is a sti­rring tune and I want the words; try your hand at it. I im­me­di­at­ely sat down and asked the Lord’s spe­cial help, and then wrote the hymn as it now appears.

Mr. San­key took the paper, with the ink scarc­ely dry on it, and sang it through with the chorus— the new air and the words ex­act­ly fit­ting, with­out al­ter­a­tion or amend­ment. I think the Lord gave you the words as tru­ly as he gave me the tune, was Mr. San­key’s first re­mark.

And then we com­mend­ed the lit­tle piece and its mu­sic to the great Mas­ter, pray­ing that the unc­tion of the Ho­ly One might rest up­on it. Mr. San­key sang the hymn for the first time in pub­lic that ev­en­ing, af­ter I had giv­en my ad­dress on the Smit­ten Rock.

Sankey, pp. 279–80


From the riven rock there floweth
Living water ever clear;
Weary pilgrim, journey onward,
Know you not the Fount is near?


Jesus is the Rock of Ages
Smitten, stricken, lo! He dies;
From His side a living fountain,
Know you not it satisfies?

Without money, without merit,
Jesus calls, Come unto Me;
Thirsty traveler, be encouraged,
Know you not the Fount is free?


Fainting in the desert, dreary,
Guilty sinner, hark! ’tis He!
’Tis the Savior still entreating,
Know you not He calleth thee?