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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.


that delivers.

Genesis 26:17–22

Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.

Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

Isaac moves to the suburbs only to find amazingly unreasonable neighbors. He digs a well, and instead of being grateful, they insist the water is theirs. Isaac’s response to this is the perfect model of righteous behavior. He lets them have the well and digs another.

This sequence of events is puzzling—until you add one key deduction. The herdsmen apparently don’t know how to dig a well. Also, they don’t seem to be the same people who stopped up the old ones.

Without modern tools (even a steel shovel) digging a well is quite a challenge. Knowing where to dig is important too. Abraham figured all this out and he taught it to Isaac. This unique and valuable skill makes Isaac a star. The herdsmen may be arrogant about property rights, but they’re not stupid.

When Isaac is able to repeat the trick of producing water from the ground, they stop thinking of the particular wells as what’s valuable and, instead, see Isaac’s skill as “the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

So Isaac just keeps digging wells until the herdsmen get the point.

Isaac knew something the herdsmen didn’t. This gave him an opportunity to overcome hostility with charity. This is analogous to our knowledge of the gospel and of human behavior.

Nowadays, people know how to get water; it’s happiness that they can’t seem to find. It never dawns on some folks that happiness isn’t something you fight for.

We’re called to be generous with happiness. Material possessions aren’t the answer, and people who covet, hoard, and fight for those things shouldn’t be interfered with. That allows them to discover for themselves that possessions don’t deliver happiness.

We’re always ready to dig a well of living water for anyone. Just by living life as a Christian, we display what does deliver.

That’s attractive.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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