Anglican Morning Devotion for 20 August 2021 Anno Domini
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“ And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. * 14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. Genesis 29:9-14
Forgive me if I have thrown you off balance with the title of this devotion for it is not the Woman at Jacob’s Well, but rather the Woman with Jacob at a well. (just a wee slight of hand, I admit) Jacob had deceived Isaac into granting him the father’s blessing instead of Esau. So Isaak sent Jacob to Padan-aram to take a wife from among his kin there.
Jacob came to a well near Haran for watering sheep, but the well was covered with a large stone. Then came a beautiful young lass with her father’s sheep to water them. The other shepherds told Jacob that this was Rachel, the daughter of Laban. (as you will recall, Laban was the brother of Jacob’s mother, Rebekah). Jacob removed the stone and allowed the sheep to drink thereof. Meeting Rachel, he embraced her and kissed her. You might say it was love at first sight – but not the casual kind of love. The love of Jacob for Rachel was a love that endured many hard trials ere he was allowed to take her hand in marriage.
Jacob was a well-digger. But this was not the same well that he had dug outside Sychar where the woman came to draw water and spoke with Jesus. This well is where Jacob met another woman who came for water – Rachel. We all know the story of how the sly Laban tricked Jacob into working seven years for him for the promised hand of Rachel in marriage, but Laban presented, instead, the hand of his elder daughter, Leah, who was veiled at the feast for marriage. But Jacob would not abandon his first love – Rachel. So, he agreed to work another seven years for the hand of his beloved Rachel in marriage. Jacob worked for Laban for a total of fourteen years for the hand of Rachel. This, I believe is evidence of the seriousness with which marriage was viewed in the Holy Bible.
The marriage of Jacob and Rachel is a reflection of the marriage between Christ and His Church. The betrothal of the Lord to the Old Testament church was no less genuine than that of the New. However, the Old Testament people of Israel had usurped the faith of Abraham to make it into a secular, national imposter. When Christ came to proclaim the Gospel, the Jewish leaders rejected Him though their prophets had foretold to the exact detail who He was that was to come.
Rachel was barren for many years while Leah was a fruitful mother. The Lord had opened the womb of Leah in face of the disfavor she experienced from Jacob. This bears up the fact that conception is always the gift of God – the Giver of Life. In the process of time, we are told that God opened the womb of Rachel and she had her first son whom she called, Joseph. Joseph, as well as Jacob, was a prototype of the coming Redeemer, but Joseph bore the fullest distinctions that shadowed the life of Christ. Joseph was the favored son of Jacob, and in many ways, he truly was for he was born of a genuine love Jacob bore for the first choice of his bride, Rachel.
Joseph would, like our Lord Jesus Christ, be sold into bondage by his own. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver and sold in Egypt. There, he ruled in the house of Potifer, and for righteousness’ sake, was thrown into prison. He later interpreted the dream of Pharaoh with the result of many lives saved from famine. Finally, all of Joseph’s brothers, along with his father Jacob, found escape from the grueling famine that descended on the land. They came to be re-united with the brother whom they had betrayed. These are all marks of Christ. He fed us with the Manna from Heaven. He was betrayed by his own and sold into the hands of the enemy for thirty pieces of silver. The many points of similarity are far too many to be revealed in a brief devotion.
Rachel died in childbirth at Ramah (Bethlehem) and is buried there. But all the life of Jacob, Rachel, and Joseph were a revelation of God’s plan of a Redeemer to come.