29 Then Jacob continued on his journey. He came to the land where the eastern tribes lived. 2 There he saw a well in the open country. Three flocks of sheep were lying near it. The flocks were given water from the well. The stone over the opening of the well was large. 3 All the flocks would gather there. The shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s opening. They would give water to the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place over the opening of the well. 4 Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?” “We’re from Harran,” they replied. 5 He said to them, “Do you know Nahor’s grandson Laban?” “Yes, we know him,” they answered. 6 Then Jacob asked them, “How is he?” “He’s fine,” they said. “Here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 7 “Look,” he said, “the sun is still high in the sky. It’s not time for the flocks to be brought together. Give water to the sheep and take them back to the grasslands.” 8 “We can’t,” they replied. “We have to wait until all the flocks are brought together. The stone has to be rolled away from the opening of the well. Then we’ll give water to the sheep.” 9 He was still talking with them when Rachel came with her father’s sheep. It was her job to take care of the flock. 10 Rachel was the daughter of Laban, Jacob’s uncle. When Jacob saw Rachel with Laban’s sheep, he went over to the well. He rolled the stone away from the opening. He gave water to his uncle’s sheep. 11 Jacob kissed Rachel. Then he began to cry because he was so happy. 12 He had told Rachel he was a relative of her father. He had also said he was Rebekah’s son. Rachel ran and told her father what Jacob had said. 13 As soon as Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he hurried to meet him. Laban hugged Jacob and kissed him. Then Laban brought him to his home. There Jacob told him everything. 14 Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”
The customs of the old testament are a far cry from ours today. Most Australians live in cities and the sheep we see is at the butcher. Jacob has to move the stone from the well so as Rachel can water her sheep, we just turn on a tap. Yes the Old Testament seems miles away from our existence today, Yet… What we see is devotion to family, which is common enough in our context today. Devotion you ask… the stone was very large – you did not move a large stone away unless there was a reason and here the reason is family, devotion to family. Emotion was high as well, Jacob kisses Rachel, he weeps, Laban embraces Jacob and kisses him – and yes these may be normal customs of the middle east, but weeping was a strong show of emotion. I wonder why. Was it just the sense of family and devotion or was there more. Was there the pent up emotion of seeing the Lord at work in miraculous ways and the relief that God really was answering prayer. I like that thought. I have often felt a surge of emotion as I realise God is answering my prayers. And I have learnt not to be embarrassed by it. Seeing God at work should impact us emotionally.
Father help me to see your hand at work in my life and help me to respond with the full range of emotion as I see your miracles, deliverance, healing, salvation…
Written by Ps. Richard Botta