The Sign of Jacob's Well at Shechem
Mar 15, 2023
Sometimes people can doubt the promises of God. In the middle of a challenge they wonder if His words will prove true. Will the promise they have taken for themselves, depended on, are leaning on with no safety net beneath them, be seen in their life?
Abraham was a man with an experience. He didn't have a Bible. He didn't have a stone with the Commandments on it. He didn't have a scroll with the laws of Israel on it. He had a Voice that spoke to him. He had instructions, and he had a promise.
He was a man who struck out for the unknown on nothing but God's word. When Abraham arrived in the land where God told him to go, he stopped at a place called Shechem. The Lord appeared to him there. He gave Abraham another promise. He told him He would give this land to his descendents.
Years passed. Abraham had the son God promised. His name was Isaac. God spoke to Isaac and gave him the same promise He gave Abraham. Isaac had two sons. To the one named Jacob God gave the promise too.
But these men never ruled the land in the sense of building cities or governing regions. Instead they had sons. They lived believing God's promise. And they dug wells.
In Genesis 33 we read about Jacob's return to the land. He, like his grandfather Abraham, stopped near Shechem. While he was there he bought some ground and pitched his tent. This means he stayed awhile. He had lots of sons and he had lots of flocks to feed. We might guess he would need water. He might have dug a well near Shechem. Actually, we know he did. We also know he gave this parcel of ground to his son named Joseph.
The Gospel of John tells us Jesus sat by Jacob's well over a thousand years after Jacob had used it.
"In Samaria he [Jesus] came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip, sat down by the well. It was about noon" (John 4:5-6).
Sychar is Shechem. The biblical city of Shechem is modern day Tel Balata in the area of Israel known as the West Bank. Jacob's well lies outside but within sight of the ancient city's ruins. The well is about a 150 ft deep. A church sits on the site today, and you can visit the well.
That well is a sign for any who wonder if God's word is dependable. It sits on the ground of Israel's patriarchs, its former slaves, its judges, kings and priests. Jesus sat by Jacob's well and declared right on the spot that He was Israel's long awaited Messiah. And the well sits there today in a land reborn and filled with Abraham's descendents. But when Jacob used his well, the land was only a promise.
Abraham knew possessing the land was a far off promise. The other promised blessings he lived. But first he had to believe these things in his heart; deep down until he was persuaded they were already his because the word God gave him. The promises were as firm and real as the rock of Jacob's well.
Peter too had an experience. He said he was an eyewitness to the Voice. But he also had the scrolls, and the Word, Jesus.
"We have not depended on made-up stories in making known to you the mighty coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes we saw his greatness. We were there when he was given honor and glory by God the Father, when the voice came to him from the Supreme Glory, saying, 'This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased!' We ourselves heard this voice coming from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain" (2Peter 1:16-18).
Peter tells us,
"So we are even more confident of the message proclaimed by the prophets. You will do well to pay attention to it, because it is like a lamp shining in a dark place until the Day dawns and the light of the morning star shines in your hearts" (2Peter 1:19).
We can be confident, fully persuaded, sure that God's word is truth, Spirit and Life, full of power and able to perform that for which He sent it. We need to pay attention to it. Receive it. Like Abraham. Like Isaac. Like Jacob.
You can read more about Abraham here.
Image by Joel Muniz courtesy of Unsplash.
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