Even at a distance of 3,000 years, the holiness of the experience comes through. “I will make all my goodness pass before thee,” God assures Moses in Exodus, “and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” The Bible describes Moses’ communion with God the next day on Mount Sinai only briefly, but the spiritual inspiration he felt is palpable: “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth .… And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.”
The full account is in Exodus 33:11—34:8, and if you haven’t read it lately, you might be surprised at its powerful depiction of spiritual experience.
Spiritual “mountaintop” experiences didn’t stop with the biblical prophets. And, of course, they don’t come from physically climbing mountains. The great question of religion has always been how to reach this point of inspiration—how to have the deep and direct communion with God that turned individuals such as Moses into prophets.