Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Twenty-One


Genesis 29:1-14

Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field and three flocks of sheep lying there beside it; for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban son of Nahor?” They said, “We do.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” “Yes,” they replied, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with the sheep.” He said, “Look, it is still broad daylight; it is not time for the animals to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them. Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept aloud. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father.

When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him; he embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

Again, with the well! People who live in a desert climate know exactly where to find water. And this one was an unusual one in some ways, wasn’t it? It had a stone over it — a stone so large and unwieldy that it was apparently only moved once a day and shepherds had to wait for everyone to get there before their flocks could be properly watered.

Sometimes we have to wait for others before we can be fully refreshed. Sometimes, we need to do things a little differently to make that happen. Jacob was surprised — he verbally invited them to get their flocks some water and clear out of the place. They refused.

Why? Because not every shepherd had arrived.

Rachel was on her way, you see.

And Rachel is the key to this story. She is the forward movement, the one who catches Jacob’s eye and later his heart. Rachel is the one who sets the course for everything that happens in the rest of the book of Genesis! 

Man, I love the Old Testament narratives. 

Thank you, Lord, for Rachel. For her beauty, her kindness, her willingness to step into the action of the drama you are producing, the one that eventually brings us Jesus. Thank you that we know her name, that we know how much Jacob loved her, that she brought Joseph into the world, and that Joseph provided an Old Testament picture of a future savior. Thank you for the foreshadowing that traces its way through so many of these stories, and for the magnificent way you keep on telling the same story, the story of your everlasting love for us.

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  1. With stories like these, I don’t know how any one can say that the OT isn’t relevant or necessary when studying the Bible. Thank you for sharing this one today, Diana!

    • Indeed — I dearly love the OT, hard stuff and all. I listened to a podcast today in which a Rabbi participated and I loved the way he talked about keeping the OT a living document. Yes, we will learn new things that will influence how we interpret certain pieces of it, but it will never cease to be the word of God for US as well as all those who’ve come before us.

  2. Margie Bicknell says

    Again, a young woman enters where God intends and the story continues. Wow, how easy to forget these women while we live our lives day to day. I guess the story asks the question,’ how do we step out in faith to be used in God’s timing?’

    • Yes! I don’t want us to forget the women — they are integral to the forward movement of the entire narrative. I think the story also shows us that we don’t always know when we are stepping into God’s idea. I think it’s about being open to possibilities, trusting that God just might surprise us!