Isaac was an only child. Well, he had a half brother, (an old family skeleton, they’d rather forget) but Ishmael was long gone now and Isaac was left at home with his elderly dad Abraham. His mum Sarah had died several years before.
The family were wealthy landowners, had everything materially they could wish for, but Isaac was lonely. He really wanted to meet someone, he wanted to meet a Godly girl, fall in love and do it the right way, but no one had caught his eye. As time passed, Isaac looked at everyone else around him, seemingly getting on with their lives, getting married, having babies, posting pictures on Instagram of their lovely lives (maybe?) and he must have wondered when it would be his turn?
He was trying really hard to keep a good attitude, to bring it to God, to get on with his life, but there was a sense of something not being right, of something missing. After much deliberation, Abraham decided to step in, and on Isaac’s behalf, do the Biblical equivalent of joining eHarmony; he sent out a servant to do the searching on Isaac’s behalf.
There were rules though; the servant had to find the right girl, she had to be a Godly woman, preferably from the region where Abraham was born and she had to be willing to relocate.
No pressure there then.
The servant, mentally rehearsing a list of what he was looking for, gathered up a load of gifts, 10 camels (as you do), supplies for a long journey and set off toward a nearby town, not knowing that what he was looking for, was right under his nose. He stopped for water and prayed.
‘Ok Lord, please will you help me here to honour the life of Abraham, will you help me to find the right girl?
Noticing that the daughters of the town were just about to head out to the well to gather water supplies, he decided to get very specific with his prayer.
‘Lord….I’m going to approach one of the girls there and ask her for water….if she then offers to water the camels too, I’ll know she’s ‘the one’…she’s the right one for Isaac’.
Enter (stage left), Rebekah; a beautiful gal, single, right age…and (as it later turned out), also a distant relative. The servant (his name isn’t mentioned) probably couldn’t believe it was this easy.
But it was and sure enough, Rebekah offered to also water the camels and the rest, as they say, is history. The Message version says the servant bowed his head in worship (and possibly also just a wee bit of shock) and said; ‘Blessed be God, God of my master Abraham: How generous and true you’ve been to my master; you’ve held nothing back. You led me right to the door of my master’s brother!’
For Rebekah, as she got up to do her chores that morning, she had no idea how much her life was about to change. Fetching water for the animals was a hot, thirsty and thankless task and yet it had to be done. She could not have known that in setting out to do a mundane everyday task, she was about to have an encounter which would catapult her into a lineage, which would one day birth the Saviour of the world. She had no idea that suddenly everything was about to change.
I love this story. It’s a beautiful tale of romance, but it’s also about so much more than just two people falling in love.
It’s about praying bold, specific prayers, asking God to do something which seems almost impossible. It’s about trusting God so completely that when you do pray, there’s no doubt in your mind that He will answer.
It’s about the ‘suddenly’ moments of thinking your whole life is mapped out, and yet while getting up one morning, going through the daily motions of life, suddenly everything changes…and, for the better.
We spend a lot of our lives thinking and planning ahead to the future, anticipating what tomorrow will be like, or what next year or retirement or the future will be.
But everything we think we know can change, in a split second. We get up one morning, thinking we know what today will hold, and yet, today could be the day. There is a caveat, in that God links his blessings and promises directly to our faithfulness to him, but if we put him first, there always comes a point where we experience his goodness.
So, today could be the day that things change, that breakthrough happens, that the estranged family member comes home, that the money comes in, the house sale goes through, the burden you thought you’d carry forever, suddenly and inexplicably lifts.
I love stories like these – they point to a God who understands human need and who specialises in surprises.
If it happened to Rebekah, why can’t it happen to you?