Lord, thank You for Your Holy Word. Let it be a song in my heart that challenges and changes me.
Read GENESIS 29:1–14a
29 Then Jacob [a]went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east. 2 And he looked, and, behold, a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep lying there by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and the stone upon the well’s mouth was great. 3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in its place. 4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence are ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. 5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. 6 And he said unto them, Is it well with him? And they said, It is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. 7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. 8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep. 9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.
13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
- Genesis 29:1 Hebrew lifted up his feet.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me.’1 As you think through your plans for today, envisage them all in the light of these words.
Well-side encounters play a noteworthy part in God’s purposes. Such a location played a part in Jacob’s father and mother’s coming together and in Moses finding a wife.2 Most famously, Jesus’ encounter with the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well helped her discover a genuine love amidst many failed attempts.3 Now, Jacob’s life and relationships will be molded by another chance encounter at a well. Except, of course, we don’t believe in chance encounters when God is at work. Some meetings in everyday places may seem less pivotal in the purposes of God, but for the believer they carry significance borne out of the belief that whatever we do is done ‘as working for the Lord’.4 Psalm 121 tells us that God watches over our coming and going.
The explanation for Jacob’s tears when he meets and kisses Rachel is doubtless multifaceted, but partly it’s a sense of relief and thankfulness that God has brought him from his home, going ahead to prepare the way and bringing him right into the middle of his extended family – and into the company of a beautiful woman to boot! It is very similar to, although less voluble than, the words of Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24:26,27, spoken in praise of the God who leads. God fulfills His intentions through people who believe He will lead them and who press on regardless of adverse circumstances. Jacob is not thrown off course by the thinking of the Haran shepherds. Their negativity will not ‘make him once relent’.5 Of course, it is vitally important that we remember that God’s leading does not mean smooth sailing. The next part of the story will knock that idea on the head. Meantime, here is a family at peace.
As you visit routine places today – the bus stop, the train, the water cooler, the supermarket, the toddler group – what is the Lord leading you to say or do?
Watchful One, Thank You for today’s reminder that You watch over my coming and going. May I follow Your leading, assured that You will never leave me nor forsake me.
1 From St Patrick’s Breastplate 2 Gen 24:11–25; Exod 2:15–17 3 John 4:1–26 4 Col 3:23 4 John Bunyan, 1628–88, ‘He who would valiant be’
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