19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
In this passage we discover facets of Isaac’s character and faith. Several times the servants of Isaac dug wells, which surely was difficult and back breaking work, only to have other herders dispute over that territory where the well was dug. Isaac’s servants dug three wells before finally no one argued over the location of the well. The last well he named Rehoboth, meaning “open spaces.” Isaac gave God the credit for allowing him the room to live and flourish in the land. From there he went to Beersheba, where the Lord appeared to him and blessed him.
Isaac and his family did not have it easy. To read earlier in the chapter, Isaac dealt with a famine, with Philistines plugging up wells that his father, Abraham, had dug. So he moved to this territory, only to have more trials. He named one well Esek meaning contention. The next was Sitnah, meaning enmity. It must have seemed overwhelming, until finally the last well, Rehoboth, was allowed to remain.
Many times we also encounter roadblocks, whether financial setbacks or difficulties with family, medical issues and the like. Isaac kept digging wells, kept seeking the life-giving water needed for his family and flocks. Isaac reminds us to not give up or give in to discouragement. God does not abandon us, even in the midst of our trials. God says, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
Gracious God, we praise you. We may face hardships and difficulty, but you strengthen us and bless us to persevere, trusting in you. Lord, help us not remain in the desert when life-giving resources have dried out. Let us keep moving ahead to find the place where you would have us go. Let us pitch our tent where you are ready to give your blessing, and there remain, safe in your embrace. Thank you, Lord. Amen.