Water of life

by | Mar 20, 2024 | March 2024 | 0 comments

And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.  Genesis 26:18 (NKJV)

Abraham and Jacob led remarkable, even turbulent lives, always on the move, punctuated with family disputes, conflicts with neighbours, even struggling with God. Between this father and grandson there is little commentary on how Isaac passed his 180 years. He was born unexpectedly to ageing parents. His God-given name in Genesis 17:19, meaning laughter, echoes Sarah’s response to being told she would have a child at 90 years of age. So he carried her laughter with him throughout his life. The other thing that would have stayed with him was the memory of his father taking him up a mountain as a sacrifice – both events rooted in commands from God.   

Beyond this there seems few exploits in Isaac’s life to generate notable stories. He seems just to have been a ‘good boy’, obedient to his father. There is no record of him resisting Abraham when he prepared him as a sacrifice. In the same way Christ did not resist when he was arrested. John’s gospel tells us that he offered himself up in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that the time had come: ‘Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way” ’(John 18:8). When Abraham’s servant returned from Haran with Isaac’s future wife, Rebekah, Isaac was on his own in the fields, meditating: a fleeting image of a thoughtful man communicating with his God. Jesus has shown us that there is a time to be thoughtful, on our own with our Creator. We are told in Luke 5:16: ‘…He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.’ There is a place for quiet men – or women – who are not necessarily doers of great deeds.

One deed recorded in some detail in Isaac’s life is the digging of wells; the place in an arid land where life-giving water is found. (Genesis 26:18-25). Encounters between God and man were sometimes at wells. The Samaritan woman encountered Christ at a well, dug by Jacob (John 4:11-12), where he spoke of “living water…a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:10-14). Isaiah continued the analogy when he wrote, ‘Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.’(Isaiah 12:3). The access to water Abraham ensured, through the digging of wells, had been blocked by the Philistines and Isaac diligently restored that access, even though his work was often resisted; a fact reflected in the naming of two of the wells ‘quarrel’ and ‘enmity’. But he persisted, eventually making sure his people had access to that water. As Isaac’s people were thankful they could drink freely, and water their flocks, so we can have gratitude that through Christ we can drink freely of the words of life.

Thanks and praise to you, our Father and Jesus Christ, that we can drink freely from the wells of salvation, and they will not be blocked up. In Jesus’s name, Amen.


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