So Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar and settled there. Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham; for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the [same] names that his father had given them. ~ Genesis 26:17-18
Jedediah Smith was a hunter and explorer of the American Wild West; an obscure frontiersman. His most memorable accomplishment was the rediscovery of the Southern Pass through the Rocky Mountains. Smith’s rediscovery of the Southern Pass in the early 1800s opened a whole new world. It was a connecting point between east and west. And it gave Americans access to the other side of the Rocky Mountains into California.
The Book of Genesis tells the tale of another obscure frontiersman; the patriarch, Isaac. He was a man of the open country who “had a taste for wild game”. Often, Isaac gets overshadowed by the bookend patriarchs, Abraham and Jacob. Yet, just as Jedediah was instrumental in connecting the east with the west, Isaac plays a crucial role in connecting Abraham with Jacob. Isaac becomes the bridge between the Father of the Promise and the People of the Promise.
Isaac’s father, Abraham, had already died. And, quickly, the Philistines stopped up the wells Abraham had dug. It was the Philistines way of attempting to remove Abraham’s memory and the promise God had given to them. So Isaac reopens the wells. In particular, Isaac reopens the well at Beersheba; the Well of the Oath. It was here Abraham made a treaty with the Philistines that he might live in the land.
For Isaac, this was his most profound accomplishment. He would later father two children, Jacob and Esau, who would each become fathers of nations. But Isaac, himself, has this accredited to his name: he reopened his father’s wells.
Sometimes the most profound accomplishment of our lives will be passing the baton of faith to the next generation. Sometimes we spend our lives re-establishing and reaffirming the promises of God. We live in a world where we want to accomplish miraculous feats for God. In our mind, we see ourselves finding the cure for cancer and ending world hunger.
But what if God wants us to simply tell others about Him? What if our profound accomplishment is sharing the peace of God with a hurting friend? Could it be we are missing God’s will for our lives while it is standing before us? Maybe we make faith too difficult. We are looking and trying and configuring and yearning to leave our mark on the world. But all the time God is simply asking us for reopen some wells.
Let’s reopen some wells; wells of the promises of God. Start by reopening the well of prayer. Pray for God to increase your faith and faithfulness. Pray for some hurting people in your life. Pray for God to bring people into your life you with whom you can share your faith.
Reopen the well of forgiveness. Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? What do you need to confess to God? Who do you need to forgive?
Reopen the well of generosity. Be generous with your time, your possessions, and your love. Love covers over a multitude of sin. Jesus said people would know we are His disciples if we love one another. Do you want to leave your mark on this world? Then be generous with your love.
There are other wells you may need to reopen. Is there a promise God gave you long ago? One you have stopped believing? It may be time to pursue the promise once again. Spend some time with God and ask Him. God may never ask you to leave your country like He did Abraham. You may never see visions of heaven like Jacob’s ladder. But God will probably ask you to reopen some wells.