Genesis 29: 1-14: The stone rolled away.

“Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. 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. 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. Jacob asked the shepherds, ‘My brothers, where are you from?’‘We’re from Harran,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?’ ‘Yes, we know him,’ they answered. Then Jacob asked them, ‘Is he well?’ ‘Yes, he is,’ they said, ‘and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.’ ‘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.’ ‘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.’ 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.’  After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month,” NIV UK

The story is set somewhere in modern day Syria. I can’t read it story without thinking about how the stone was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb – not to let Him out, but to allow the church in! What a well of refreshment we find there. The flock of Christ is watered continually, and satisfyingly, by Christ risen from the dead. As with the stone in the garden tomb, this one would probably have taken several men to roll it into place. But Jacob moved it single-handedly. It must have been a feat of almost super-human strength. Can we already say that this is the kind of thing that love does?!

When Jacob met these shepherds, and discovered they were from Haran, and that they knew his Uncle Laban; and then when Rachel appeared, he must have realised that God had led him to that place, just as he had promised (28:15). ‘God’s providence brought Jacob to the well just as Rachel was arriving (see Genesis 24:27).’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.36.

Laban’s greeting sounded promising (14a), but he was going to find that this welcome was not straightforward. Sometimes God brings difficult people into our lives because we are difficult people, and He is going to change us in these interactions. ‘Whether you like people or not, do to them as He would do; let his love flow through you to them; what we manifest to others for his sake we shall come to feel towards Him, and them also.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.20

PRAYER: Lord, please watch over all my steps, so that I find myself where you want me to be, and I meet the people you want me to know.