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In our series ‘The Wells of Salvation’ we looked at four wells Isaac encountered in Genesis 26:12-33. These were Esek, Sitnah, Rehoboth and Beersheba, and each one can teach us something useful for our own spiritual pilgrimage.
Isaac is seen here flourishing under God’s blessing and encountering envy and opposition as a result. The Philistines were so envious they stopped up many of the wells Abraham had dug. We too can often feel as though the spiritual life and springs of living water Jesus offers us are blocked up, especially when life hits us hard (e.g. by bereavement, betrayal or busyness.)
Bereavement very easily derails us. When we lose a person we love or we lose something precious to us – a job, a relationship, a friendship, a career, a hobby, the ability to do something we could once do with ease – something dies within us too and it can feel like there has been a blockage, something preventing us from getting to the water of life. There is hope in God, but often this loss makes us re-evaluate priorities and we need God to help us through this testing time.
Betrayal leaves us with shattered trust and we often blame God, feeling as though He could (or should) have prevented this. We tend to hide away and isolate ourselves, but have to learn to keep on loving and forgiving. Isaac clearly was hurt by Abimelek’s request for him to move on and found it hard when Abimelek returned to make a treaty with him, but ultimately he was able to let go of the hurt and move forward. God wants us to let go of bitterness and resentment and not seek revenge (see Rom 12:17-21). Forgiveness frees us to access the living water again!
Busyness does not seem as much of a problem as bereavement or betrayal, but actually steals us away from the time we need to spend with God to maintain our spiritual life. Without that access to living water, we quickly become dried up and have no resources with which we can swim against the tide. So often, being busy makes us feel useful and important, but it can easily be a hindrance to our spiritual growth.
Blocked-up wells have to be unblocked in order to allow access to living water again. The enemy (the Philistines) may seek to stop up our wells, but God, by His Holy Spirit, is able to remove these blockages and let the water flow freely again.