For the week of November 13, 2004 / 29 Heshvan 5765
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 25:19 - 28:9
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 20:18-42
Where Do You Get Your Water?
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 (Bereshit / Genesis 26:25).
We all know that water is so essential to our survival. Without it, we die. Those of us who live in water-rich areas, have little understanding of what much of the world goes though in its search for fresh, clean water. The land of Israel both in ancient and modern times understands this. The water situation there is so delicate. Rain is rarely in abundance and the geography doesn't allow for many large natural reservoirs.
Israel's forefathers, the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, lived a nomadic existence, dwelling in tents and moving from place to place in search of pasture for their livestock. One of the things that determined if they could stay in a certain place was whether or not they could dig or access a decent well.
This week's portion describes Isaac's struggle to find a good place to settle. A famine led them to Philistine territory. The Philistines were jealous of Isaac's prosperity and would stop up his wells, or argue over the access to certain wells, thus forcing him to keep moving. At each place they would either redig one of the wells of Isaac’s father Abraham, or dig a new well.
Wherever they went, their lives depended on finding water. Wells had to be dug. If they did not find water, they could not stay. The need for water drove them. It doesn't take long to be overcome by thirst. It doesn't take that long to die for lack of water. So they kept moving. And so they kept digging.
Our desires drive us. They drive us to find refreshment. Deeper than our drive for water is our drive to find refreshment for our souls. Most of the time we don't notice this drive, because we so naturally dig wells to satisfy this thirst. We move from activity to activity seeking to satisfy our internal thirsts. We douse ourselves with all sorts of things hoping to find relief from our desperation.
Many of us don't stop dousing ourselves with the distractions of entertainment, the pursuit of money, or the gratification of our flesh to realize how thirsty we are. And if for one reason one of our wells runs dry, we quickly seek to dig another one in the hope we will finally find something to relieve our thirst.
Yeshua spoke about this very thing at the location of one of the patriarchal wells, one that belonged to Isaac's son, Jacob (See John 4). He spoke of a water that would quench the thirst of our souls. Drinking from his messianic well would not only quench our thirst, but make us a source of tremendous refreshment to others.
And yet how many of us continue to find refreshment from other wells? It doesn't help that there are so many wells offering us satisfaction all around us today. We are not only distracted by these false sources of refreshment, we just about drown ourselves in them.
When was the last time you stopped and took a good long drink of the water that only comes from God through Yeshua? Could it be that you have tried, but you are just too saturated by the water of other wells?
Maybe you are someone who has never even tasted God's life giving water. The good news is that not only is there plenty for everyone, his well never runs dry.
Comments? Please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail this TorahBytes to someone? Click here
To have TorahBytes e-mailed to you weekly