Biblical Women Series #4 REBECCA, wife of ISAAC
Abraham had a trusted servant, Eliezer. As his beloved son, Isaac grew older, Abraham sent his servant to his ancestral home to search for a wife for Isaac. Accompanied by ten camels loaded with gifts and as many servants, Eliezer made his way to Paddan-Aram. On arrival, he asked God to give him a specific sign to indicate the girl whom God had chosen to become the wife of Isaac.
Rebecca, a teenager at the time, came to the well to draw water as she did every day. Eliezer asked her for drink of water. Rebecca, well trained in hospitality, immediately offered him water from her own jug and then volunteered to draw water for the camels. Now that may not sound dramatic at first reading, but let me fill you in on some facts.
Camel owners in the middle East will tell you that a thirsty camel can actually drink up to 200 gallons of water at one time! Eliezer had TEN camels with him. For interest’s sake, let’s say that each of those camels was content with just 100 gallons of water. Multiply that by ten camels and you’re looking at 1000 gallons of water which potentially Rebecca drew out of the well! Now that’s what you call a strong and hard-working young lady!!!!
Now here’s the big question: do you suppose that as Rebecca went back and forth drawing water from those camels, getting sweaty and tired, that it ever entered her mind that the very act she was performing was sealing her divine destiny??
I doubt it! But the truth is that this was exactly the sign Eliezer had asked for and it signaled him that this was the girl God had chosen for his master’s son, Isaac. Meanwhile, as Eliezer is thanking God for answering his prayer, we’re watching a 14-15 year old girl getting exhausted but never complaining; face streaked with desert dust and sweat, but not giving up until she had completely fulfilled her commitment: “I’ll draw for your camels as well.”
This was NO SMALL GESTURE!
We learn a couple of principles from Rebecca’s ‘test’.
1) None of us truly recognizes what may be our most significant decision and/or action as we go through life. Perhaps down the road we get a glimpse, but not always. Our concern is to do what is right and kind in each situation and let God keep score.
2) The power of keeping one’s word cannot be overestimated. After hauling several large jugs of water, Rebecca could easily have thought, ‘I just can’t do this. My arms hurt. I’ll make up some excuse that I need to get home.’ She didn’t. She fulfilled her declaration to its completion. No quitting along the way because the task got difficult or time-consuming. Keeping our word used to be the norm in society. Unfortunately, it’s taken a hit in recent years and reliability is becoming a rare commmodity.
To those of us who desire to live a godly life, keeping our word is at the top of the list of honorable character traits. Like Rebecca, let us be women who say what we mean, mean what we say and back it up with our actions.