And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai–roi.
– Genesis 25:11
Wells were of great significance and importance during Bible times. During this time wells were much more labor-intensive to dig and therefore not as plentiful. This made them a treasured resource. So much so that communities would sometimes develop around the well. It’s magnitude would actually draw people to it. There were benefits to living near a well. You wouldn’t have to carry water as far if you could live in close proximity to the well.
Wells were also known as a local landmarks and gathering places. There was a special attraction about a well. People from all walks of life depended on the water that was drawn from it. Regardless of their social class or background, they found common ground at this special place.
We see from Scripture that Isaac recognized the value of a well. He was indeed a well digger. A look at Genesis 26 reveals that he re-dug the wells that Abraham had initially dug. (It’s also interesting to note that he valued his heritage enough to rename them the same thing that Abraham named them). The Philistines would come and fill these wells in, and instead of being discouraged and throwing in the towel, he would just dig another well.
Isaac knew, as the enemy did, that wells were a life-giving source. Without a well the livestock would dehydrate and die, the crops would dry up, and eventually they themselves could not survive. Isaac, however, was resolved to dwell by the well.
When I look at this subject I see a representation of the church. To me, the church is a well that we cannot survive without. It should be a local landmark. It should be a local gathering place. It should be much more than that, however. It is where we derive that life-giving water.
I submit that’s exactly what we have come to this region for; to dig a well. Something to sustain life and spiritual vitality. In some cases the enemy has came and filled in the “wells” of some good folks and they just need to re-dig them. In other instances, there are those like the woman in John 4 who have never discovered a well of living water. They have been drinking from a well that doesn’t satisfy. They need to drink from the well of living water.
I also believe once folks discover the “well” there will be a natural (or supernatural) drawing power to it. When they realize there is something at that place (this place) which satisfies a longing in their soul, they will come. Once they come, some will value it enough to dwell by the well.
This well we read about in Genesis 25:11 was previously mentioned in Genesis chapter sixteen. Its name means “the well of the Living One that sees me.” This is the well where Hagar once found help when Sarai dealt harshly with her. Here an angel spoke to her and gave direction and encouragement (We still get direction and encouragement at the well.) We then see it again in Genesis 24:62 as Isaac passes by it. Let me say that the church hopefully will make such an impression on folks that once they pass by our way, they will at some point return to “dwell” as Isaac did.
Some would come as Hagar did and have their need met only to return to their old life, but others see the value of remaining as close as they can. The church is a good place to come when you have a need, but one’s soul needs a continual refreshing in this barren land we live. Don’t stray too far from the source of life. Come on and dwell by the well!