Scripture: Genesis 26:1-6, 12-33
Key verse: (22) He moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying “Now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
Reflection: If you usually read only the key verse and don’t read the entire Bible story, today is a day when you need to read the whole thing! Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, was married to Rebekah and was the father of Esau and Jacob. In this chapter, famine forces Isaac and Rebekah to move to Gerar under King Abimelech. Isaac settles and thrives but then Abimelech tells him “Go away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” Isaac and his family move on. When Isaac’s servant digs a new well and finds spring water, the herders of Gerar quarrel “the water is ours.” That well is named Esek, meaning “contention.” When another well is dug, they quarrel over that one also so it is named Sitnah, meaning “Enmity.” Finally Isaac moves again and digs another well, and when they didn’t quarrel over it, he names the well “Rehoboth,” meaning “broad place or spacious place.”
Wow! Who owns the water? The one who lives on the ground above it or the one who digs the well? The one who wants it or the one who needs it? The citizen or the foreigner? We quarrel, almost to the point of absurdity. This tension repeats over and over again through human history. Toddlers fight over toys, quickly learning to say “mine” as they grab the toy away from someone else. Spouses argue over expenditures. Neighbors quarrel over property lines. Nations fight over natural resources.
How are you tempted to say “the water is ours” in your life? I pray that you find Rehoboth, a broad and spacious place where you can live at peace with those around you. In Jesus Christ, we see God’s gift of Rehoboth, and there is room for everyone at the table. In his father’s house, there are many dwelling places. Rehoboth. Good news.
Prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes I feel frightened that I won’t have enough – enough money, enough energy, enough work, enough resources, enough love. Sometimes I am tempted to quarrel and say “mine.” Give me the grace I need to see Rehoboth, a spacious place where there is room for all of your children. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].