Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water. Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful. – Genesis 24:10-19 (NIV)
The description of the wells for these communities are somewhat like modern day shopping malls or coffee shops, places where people gather to connect with each other and their community. As part of my research as a geologist, I have worked in Haiti for a number of years on groundwater quality and safe and sustainable water for Haiti. The springs and wells in Haiti serve the same function as the well described in this passage. The women and children visit the wells and springs to get water for the household each day and have the opportunity to connect and communicate with others in the community. In the case of this well God used water to demonstrate his provision for Abraham and Isaac in the form of identifying a wife, Rebekah. The servant who was sent to observe was faithful in prayer and trusted that God would provide, just as God provided a ram in the thicket for Abraham so that he did not need to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
This teaches me a couple of things; “stop, drop, and pray” when I encounter situations where the outcome is unsure or I am anxious about the “plan”. It also teaches me that God has a plan that is often in motion and God can use seemingly innocuous events to achieve his desire for our lives. Lastly, I need to listen and look intently to make sure that I do not miss God’s provision within an event that seems something akin to “just a woman getting water from a well”.
As I was praying and reflecting on this post, while not sleeping at 3:30 in the morning, God brought it to my attention that over the past several weeks I have been meeting Him at the “well” daily — so far at least. A few have joined me on this journey I am on as blog “followers” for which I am thankful and humbled. I am a fellow follower. Sometimes I feel like my Christian journey is like a raft trip. There are times when I hang on for dear life as God leads me through a class IV rapids (for non rafters read big scary whitewater). Other times I am eddying out in a quiet pool to reflect, dry off, and recover. But as one of my favorite singers/songwriters, Michael Card, put it in the song “Joy in the journey“:There is a joy in the journey There’s a light we can love on the way There is a wonder and wildness to life And freedom for those who obey.
The longer I walk with God the more this idea — that there is Joy in the journey — rings true in my soul. How can one be successful on the Christian journey? I think it comes down to having a sense of adventure, praying, looking, listening, and loving with the knowledge that God has a plan for us and our lives.
Prayer: God show me the subtle plans you have in motion and help me to slow down so that I can see and acknowledge your plan. Be with me in times of whitewater rapids and quiet pools of reflection.