Isaac was sojourning in the land of promise, but as an alien, and the going was hard. There was a famine in the land and the Philistines who lived there, as well, opposed him. In fact, they had stopped up all the wells that his father, Abraham, had dug. Isaac persisted because the Lord told him to stay, that he would be with him, and that he would bless him. And so we are told that he, ‘…dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham …’ (Gen 26:18).
The struggle wasn’t over. The Philistines fought him over the first two wells he re-opened, but as he persevered, the third well was opened without opposition and was named Rehoboth, the broad place.
As those in Christ, we talk about being baptized in the Spirit and filled with the Spirit, and the language makes it sound like the life of the Spirit is coming from outside. But a better understanding is that God has placed his own Spirit within us and we are now filled from the inside, like a well filled from the boundless supply in the aquifer.
Jesus proclaimed that, ‘…“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ (John 7:37-38) The living water is there. We need to thirst, come, drink. To dig again the wells and draw the water. But the promise is not only that our thirst will be slaked, but that there will be water to flow for others, too.
As a community we are in a challenging time. There is something of a famine, and there is always opposition from our enemy. We are asking, ‘what are we to do, where are we to go?’ As we are sojourning, we are hearing the Lord clearly say that he is with us and that he will bless us, to stay with him. I see this phase of our discernment process as a time of excavation. We are digging again wells which had been dug before – both in our community life, and as individuals. That process of excavation is expressed in gathering when the community gathers, in earnestly seeking the Lord together and in our personal prayer, in listening and sharing what we hear the Lord saying.
And as we dig; as we thirst, come, drink; we are encountering the living water. It is refreshing us and strengthening us for the sojourn. As we are tasting the fresh water, it is also flowing so that it can go out from us to one another, and into channels of grace to those around us. He is using us as springs in a dry and weary land.
Dig down, drink up, pour out.