Thursday, January 10, 2013
Do You Have a Well?
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek,[c] because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.[d] 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,[e] saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 He called it Shibah,[f] and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.[g]
Isaac had become a very successful and wealthy man and yet, even in his multitude of earthly resources he lacked what was needed to sustain life. This was not only for his own life, but for the lives of all of those who had become a part of his household and for all of his herds and flocks. The man and his company desperately needed water!
They came back to the region where his father had lived and they reopened the wells that his father had dug. The enemies of the region had plugged up the wells but Isaac was able to open them again. There they found water and they gave the wells the same names that they had in the past.
Unfortunately every time that Isaac and his household found success the people around them became jealous and they had to move on. Isaac was a man of peace and therefore, instead of fighting, he left the fresh water for his enemies so that they could live and he moved on.
He continued to move and continued to dig new wells. Time after time he was able to find fresh and life-giving water and consistently he was willing to give it away to his enemies.
Finally he finds a resting place where he is able to establish an altar to God and a well of living water both, side-by-side nourishing and sustaining his body and soul.
Today we are searching for the spring of eternal and life-giving water which can only be found in the stream flowing from the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit which provides us with all that we need to sustain us as God's followers here on this earth -- but where are those wells where the Holy Spirit is springing up?
Maybe we are like Isaac and have been wandering in a dry and desolate land during a time of famine and we desperately need something to drink. We come upon an old dried-up well from the past. God wants us to join in with him in unstopping the old wells. We have older churches where the water has stopped flowing, but it doesn't mean that the stream doesn't exist there beneath the surface. Isaac reopened his father's well -- and even gave it the same name that it had in the past. What would happen if we began, in earnest to unstop the old wells and allowed the Holy Spirit to flow through them again, pouring out life-giving water to those around them? Don't worry about changing the name to something new -- honor the past and what had happened in that place before -- reopen it and celebrate the past with a new future. The old well became so life-giving that those in the community wanted to take it over -- and Isaac let them have it -- and it sustained those who had even been called his enemies!
And Isaac moved on -- and sometimes we need to as well. And we plant new wells and we find the fresh outpouring of God's Holy Spirit in new places -- places that we would never even have imagined. The joy is that the Spirit pours out and there is great satisfaction as the whole family is fed and nurtured and grows in the health of the life-giving stream. But again, the water is so good that those in the area want it for themselves, and instead of fighting over the good water -- Isaac moves on and lets them have it -- wanting the very best for them.
As our story ends Isaac does find a resting place where he is able to settle in and worship God and experience the life-giving flow of the sweet water from the well. He finds a place where he can rest and worship God and be sustained at the same time and he takes a deep breath and relaxes in God's holy presence. He has opened up the old wells, he has planted new ones, he has brought the life-giving sustenance from the well to many who needed it but now it's time for him to be filled over and over and over again to the very end of his days.
God's life-giving Holy Spirit is flowing today and God is asking us to join into his work in unstopping some old wells, digging some new ones, and drinking in the overflow of what he has provided. Some of us may feel that we are wandering out the in the desert during the time of famine but maybe we need to be as Isaac, praying for God's leading and discernment to find the right places to dig our wells. The promise is that if we dig in the right place, we will discover an incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit which will not only sustain us but will result in the transformation of entire communities. Have you dug a well?
Lord, please help me to dig wells and to be a channel for the overflow of your Holy Spirit. Amen.