17 So Isaac moved away from there. He camped in the Valley of Gerar, where he made his home. 18 Isaac opened up the wells again. They had been dug in the time of his father Abraham. The Philistines had stopped them up after Abraham died. Isaac gave the wells the same names his father had given them. 19 Isaac’s servants dug wells in the valley. There they discovered fresh water. 20 But the people of Gerar who took care of their own herds argued with the people who took care of Isaac’s herds. “The water is ours!” the people of Gerar said. So Isaac named the well Esek. That’s because they argued with him. 21 Then Isaac’s servants dug another well. They argued about that one too. So he named it Sitnah. 22 Isaac moved on from there and dug another well. But no one argued about that one. So he named it Rehoboth. He said, “Now the Lord has given us room. Now we will be successful in the land.” 23 From there Isaac went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him. He said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid. I am with you. I will bless you. I will increase the number of your children because of my servant Abraham.” 25 Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. There he set up his tent. And there his servants dug a well. 26 During that time, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar. His personal adviser, Ahuzzath, had come with him. So had his army commander, Phicol. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me? You were angry with me and sent me away.” 28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you. So we said, ‘There should be an agreement between us and you.’ We want to make a peace treaty with you. 29 Give us your word that you won’t harm us. We didn’t harm you. We always treated you well. We sent you away peacefully. And now the Lord has blessed you.” 30 Then Isaac had a feast prepared for them. They ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men made a treaty with each other. Then Isaac sent the men of Gerar on their way. And they left peacefully. 32 That day Isaac’s servants came to him. They told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 So he named it Shibah. To this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.
Isaac re-opened a well that had been his father Abrahams but there were disputes over it, so he reopened another and there were more disputes and so he dug a new well. This was hard work and very time consuming. It would not have been easy for Isaac to move on from each project. Each well held meaning, was essential for survival (you could not survive and prosper without your own water source) and each had taken his time and his labourers to get working. But he did not quarrel. When he finally digs a well which there are no disputes over he declares ” the Lord has made room for us and we will flourish in the land”.
Later in this passage Isaac is reminded of the Abrahamic covenant of blessing and that it is a promise to him and those that follow after him. Isaac praises God for this reminder, at Beersheba, and builds an altar and digs another well. Then he makes a peace treaty. Then his servants declare that they have struck water. Beersheeba goes on to be an important place. Isaac truely flourishes in the land.
Here in this passage we see themes of God’s provision, blessing and contentedness going hand in hand with the themes of peace & blessing for all people.
God help me to trust that you will provide for me and my family. Help me to work hard and not grumble. Help me to know that you have “land and water” for us, you will “make room for us” and cause us “to flourish.” Help me not to be envious of what others have or compare myself to others. May I be at peace with myself, with you and with others. Help me to live a life of thankfulness and contentedness. And may I trust in your covenant of blessing to me and may my hearts desire, above all things be, that your blessing would flow out from me to others that they too may know you and your goodness.
Written by Zoe Stewart