Digging Wells, Taking Ownership


Struggle is the common experience of humanity.  Even on our best days we know that we are a phone call away from tears, a slip away from pain, one breath from death. How then can we live with the peace of God that is promised to us?  Are there choices to be made to own His promises?  Yes, there are.  We do not give in to ‘fate.’ We are not just brave, holding back our tears or anger. God asks us to look to Him, even as we do the things that allow Him to strengthen us.

There is a principle found in Isaac’s story in Genesis 26.  Even as he prospered, he had to deal with difficulty. Pushed out of the land of the Philistines, he moved to the area where his father had lived. There he found the wells dug by Abraham filled in. That little detail is more than a footnote. In that time and place, a well for water gave permanence and signaled a claim of ownership. After the patriarch had died, the Philistines reasserted their claim to the land by throwing dirt and stones into those wells.  Isaac goes back, reopens them. But, he found resistance. So, he moved on to another valley where he thought he might settle – and he dug wells!

Here is a part of that chapter. “Isaac dug again the wells which were dug in the days of his father Abraham but had been clogged up by the Philistines after Abraham’s death. And he renamed them, using the original names his father had given them. One day, as Isaac’s servants were digging in the valley, they came on a well of spring water. The shepherds of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s shepherds, claiming, “This water is ours.” So Isaac named the well Esek (Quarrel) because they quarreled over it. They dug another well and there was a difference over that one also, so he named it Sitnah (Accusation). He went on from there and dug yet another well. But there was no fighting over this one so he named it Rehoboth (Wide-Open Spaces), saying, “Now God has given us plenty of space to spread out in the land.” From there he went up to Beer-sheba. That very night God appeared to him and said, I am the God of Abraham your father; don’t fear a thing because I’m with you. I’ll bless you and make your children flourish because of Abraham my servant. Isaac built an altar there and prayed, calling on God by name. He pitched his tent and his servants started digging another well.” (Genesis 26:18-25, The Message)  That well he named Shebah, which meant “oath.” He claimed God’s promise and chose to live in the covenant with God first known by his father, Abraham.

Isaac, though blessed and a son of God’s promise, had to dig wells which became symbolic of his search for God’s provision. He did not just pray and hope, nor did he pine for what could have been. He chose to work to own the promise. And, so must we!  When enemies attack you, seek refreshing from the Spirit. When Satan resists, return to your true Source.  When you are tired or discouraged, maybe even confused by the circumstances of life, find a place to settle in God and dig a well from which His Living Water can flow into your life.

In the middle of a hostile world, in times when struggle and conflict abound, go often to God’s Presence. Make the choice to pray, not timidly, but with desire to know Him. Enter into worship – alone each day and with others in gatherings of His Church. Open the Scripture and find renewal.  Yes, dig a well and declare that you are an owner of God’s promise to save you from sin, to keep you from temptation, to provide all that you need, and to give you life abundant and eternal.

Here is a word from the Word. Make it the meditation of your heart and mind today. Dig in and own the promise of His provision.

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD.
Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

 In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
(Isaiah 12, NIV)

Come Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

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