Abraham's Well: Seeking a Bride
By Miriam Feinberg Vamosh
Reflections of God's Holy Land
The people of ancient Beersheba dug their well centuries after Abraham’s time. But as we peer down 210 feet to the now-dry bottom of a well outside the gate, or go down into the city’s underground reservoir that channeled water from the stream, we can understand the strength, agility, and perseverance women in Bible days called on, day in and day out, to perform this most essential household task — drawing water.
That’s how Abraham’s servant knew the best place to seek a bride for his master’s son.
Rebekah not only met but exceeded his expectations. She rushed to help him and called him “my lord,” even though he was dusty and disheveled from the road and could hardly have looked the part. She parted with some of the precious drinking water she had just drawn with her own hands or coaxed her donkey to pull up. Then she watered his camels, backbreaking work that could have taken hours to complete.
At the end of her long, camelback trip down the Patriarch’s Highway to the Negev, Isaac’s encampment shimmered into view, and Rebekah saw her future husband for the first time. Genesis 24:64 reads: Rebekah also looked and saw Isaac. Then she jumped down from the camel. However the English translation doesn’t do it justice; the original Hebrew says that when Rebekah saw Isaac, she fell off the camel!
At the well of Beersheba, we recall another patriarchal suitor, Rebekah and Isaac’s son Jacob, and his kinswoman bride Rachel (Genesis 29:2–12). If we turn to Exodus, we can picture Moses meeting his future sisters-in-law (and perhaps also his wife Zipporah) at the well. And Hagar, as Sarah’s bondswoman, who was later cast out to wander “in the desert of Beersheba” (Genesis 21:14), would have come daily to a well like this to draw water for her mistress’s household.
Like these women, Rebekah in her later life harnessed all the strength and determination she had first shown by the well, in the service of her family and their future.
Printed by permission of Thomas Nelson. For additional information on Thomas Nelson, visit www.thomasnelson.com.
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