Monday, March 31, 2014

dig again the wells

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac's servants dug a well.
Genesis 26:1-5, 12-25
Isaac prospered in the land to which God had sent him.  So much so, it bothered the Philistines...again.  I have to think that these Philistines knew who Isaac was, or whose he was, by the mentioning of Abraham's wells being stopped up by them.  Wells, back in the day, were a claim, of sorts, on a parcel of land.  By their filling up these wells, the Philistines were disregarding any claim that could be placed on the land.
These wells were also a source of life for a man and his livestock.  Isaac could not dwell in a land without water.  He had to dig again the well...and again...and again.  He dug out the wells until there was no opposition to whom the water belonged.
Once he found a well without contention, Isaac seemed to get the confirmation he needed to know it was right to dwell and prosper in the land again.  He chose a different location than that of the uncontested well, however.  He went to Beersheba.  Interesting enough, once there, the first act was that of building an altar in praise to God.  Secondly, he pitched his tent.  Then, a well was dug.
The thing that kept Isaac searching, became the last thing established.
The water came...eventually.
This is for anyone who feels as if their life is like a well that has been stopped up and filled with dirt.
If the life you relied upon to give you a sense of what is normal and routine has been replaced by foreign things that simply fill up and take away space once belonging to other treasured things...I totally get where you are.
I also know that it will get better if you just hold on a little while longer.  God knows where you are and He cares about you.  He loves you too much to leave you where you are.
But, it will take some time and, perhaps, some work.  Isaac (or, rather, his servants) had to dig again many a well before they could benefit from the water held within.
What dirt has filled your wells....poverty? sickness? disappointment? loneliness? injury? sin?
Nowhere is it stated that a life centered around God will be free of some sort of pain or inconvenience now and then.  At times, we are sent searching for a new well due to our own sinful choices.  Other times, we must dig a new well because of circumstances not of our own doing.  Either way, we must dig in and hold on to the promises that God gave us before our wells were stopped up.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them.
For it is the Lord your God who goes with you;
He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
In response to God's goodness to me in my life...His forgiveness, His goodness, His healing power...let me be the first to give Him glory as I dig again the wells that have previously been filled with things not comfortable, not welcome, not holy.  I am looking forward to what is ahead with a freshness that must be like what that water in the new well in Beersheba was for Isaac.
God is God and He is good...no matter what!

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