29 Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. 2 There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. 3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well. 4 Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We’re from Harran,” they replied. 5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?” “Yes, we know him,” they answered. 6 Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?” “Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 7 “Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.” 8 “We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.” 9 While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. 12 He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father. 13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. 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