Thoroughly Equipped: Watering Holes

Today’s reading is Genesis 30:1-31:16, Matthew 10:1-23, Psalm 12:1-8, and Proverbs 3:13-15.  However, I am still in the previous chapter, Genesis 29.

As we see in verse 1 of Genesis 29, Jacob continued on his journey after his stop at Bethel and came to the land of the eastern people. Stop for a moment and read Genesis 29:1-14.

As Jacob was on his journey, he saw a well in a field. He was alert enough on his journey to see. He could have passed on by. He could have been looking down, feeling sorry for himself, thinking of his sore feet and heavy load. He could have given up and turned back. But he didn’t. He looked and he saw. What did he see? He saw a well. This watering hole was very significant considering his location. He was in the desert. Water in the desert comes few and far between. Water in the desert is more appreciated, more valuable, more enjoyable than water along the fertile roads.

I believe in these first verses we see significant symbolism, which we can drink for ourselves. First of all, on our spiritual journey, we must ask ourselves: Do we recognize the watering holes? Do we look and see the places along our journey that God provides for us to be refreshed? Do we realize He longs to quench our spiritual thirst? Will we stop at the wells along the way, or will we walk on by?

Maybe it is a Bible study, corporate or personal.

Maybe it is church involvement or Christian accountability with Christian friends.

Maybe it is worship in singing and praise and prayer, both corporate and private.

Maybe it is taking a break from the daily grind to stop and see the blessings around us … the blue skies, the refreshing wind before a summer storm, the unexpected flowers and smells, and even parking places close to the store.

It is my strong belief that it is all of the above that God lovingly brings our way as we walk down our life’s path. But will we look and will we see? Or will we keep our head down, rush from activity to activity, and complain and whine all along the way, saying, “Where’s God?!”

At the well, Jacob saw three flocks of sheep.  The fact that there were three flocks gives us a clue that God was up to something.  Remember that the number three is symbolic of holy perfection.What Jacob saw next was also symbolic of what was to come—a faint but significant thread in the tapestry God was weaving.

He saw a large stone.

A large stone, which covered the source of refreshment and nourishment that the sheep had to have in order to live.

A large stone that needed to be rolled away.

In verse three we find that when all the flocks were gathered—in other words, at just the right time—the shepherds rolled away the stone and watered the sheep.  This water provided life for the sheep.  Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.

Do you see where I am going with this?  Jesus is referred to as the Great Shepherd.  We are referred to as the sheep of His pasture.

Romans 5:6 tells us that at just the right time, Christ, the Great Shepherd, died for us, the sheep of His pasture.  Jesus is referred to as the living water, and in John 4:14 He said,

            But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. (Amplified Bible)

Only Jesus can offer us this eternal and abundant life-giving spiritual water.  He can offer this to us because He rolled away the stone at His death and resurrection.

             But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

                                                                               Mark 16:4

But this simple passage in Genesis was before the final triumphant rolling took place.  Genesis 29:3 says, “When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.” This verse brings us back to Jacob’s present reality that in this story, the stone had to return to its place over the well.  The storyline was just being written, the tapestry still being woven. Jesus hadn’t come yet, but it was a glimpse.

Jacob then inquired of these earthly shepherds and found that they were from Haran. His rest stop along the journey had finally come! Little did he know that reaching his goal along the journey was not the end, only the beginning.

And so we should glean a valuable truth from this. We think “if only” I could get to this point in my life. “If only” I could achieve this goal or that dream. I am all for planning and having God-given dreams and goals. I have an abundance of them myself. But we must realize that the joy is in the journey. And it’s not over till we are over, and God is constantly writing our story and weaving His plan. This truth will help us to keep our dreams and goals from becoming idols.

What is an idol? An idol is anything that becomes the ultimate thing.  People, family, children, jobs, money, beauty, power … all can become idols.  A clean house can become an idol.  Perfectly behaved children can become an idol.  A relationship can become an idol.  Exercise or food can become an idol. Work, money, power, fame, can all become idols.  Anything other than God that becomes the ultimate thing is probably an idol.  Does that hurt?  It hurt me to write it.  Several things came to my mind that I need to examine to make sure I haven’t turned them into idols.  It is easy for good, even godly, things to become idols.  But God had some pretty strong things to say about idols.  So many of the renewed covenants of God’s people involved turning away from idols.

Now let’s look at Genesis 29:9-10 again:

            While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep.

                                                                                                 Genesis 29:9-10

What prompted his action?  He looked upon her with love; he saw her as family.  His response was an act of service, and not a simple one.  The NIV Study Bible says that Jacob’s action was “a feat of unusual strength for one man because the stone was very large.”

How ironic that the seed within him would eventually produce Another who would look on us with love, see us as family, and with extraordinary, unusual strength, roll away the ultimate stone.  Yes, Jesus was in the lineage of Jacob.  And what is our response to this?  Should we not look on others with love, see them as family members, and come to their rescue with unusual acts of service?  This is how we act like Jesus.  Today, ask the Lord what He would have you to do this week to love others.



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