I was watching “Goonies” this weekend. I’ve seen it A LOT. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the Truffle Shuffle. Heh. The wishing well scene stood out to me this time. If you haven’t seen the movie, then shame on you. It’s pure 80s cheese. And worth every gooey morsel. I won’t offer a plot summary, but the movie follows the treasure-hunting adventure of a group of townies trying to save their homes. Their adventure takes them underground where they discover what they believe is One-Eyed Willie’s treasure. Turns out, the “treasure” is nothing but coins at the bottom of a wishing well. A woman-ogling, sports-car-driving, right-side-of-the golf-course kid, Troy, even offers to assist the object of his affection out of the well and into his teenage-hormone-riddled arms. But those coins represented the promise of something more for the Goonies. We’ve made it this far, they reasoned. No need to give up now.
Just so happens, I’ve been reading about wells in my daily Bible. Of course, the OT wells weren’t wishing wells, but they certainly represented the promise of something more.
For Hagar, the first well represented God’s ability to hear her (hence her son’s name Ishmael) and see her. I imagine in the quiet of the night, when everyone else was asleep, Hagar cherished that moment when God met her at the well and filled her with the promise of hope. She fled, once more, to the wilderness where, without water, she knew she and her only son would die. God told her not to be afraid. She wept for leaving behind the only life she had known. She wept for the unknown. Then, God opened her eyes. And He provided her with a well.
God hears. God sees. God provides.
There are so many instances of life-changing encounters at wells (Abraham’s servant and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Jesus and “the woman”), but I’d like to focus on Isaac’s wells. I’m pretty sure God was waiting, patiently I might add, for me to catch up. I can be a little busy-minded, so sometimes I need Him to open my eyes like He did for Hagar. Last night, as I was reading from the January 14 entry in the daily Bible (yes, I’m a bit behind. Don’t judge. I’ve been sick. And I had a tragedy occur that I’m not ready to talk about, so cut me some slack.), I noticed the word “well” over and over again.
I knew God was smacking me upside the head with His Word. He might as well have said, “Pay attention, Heather. This is important.”
Isaac was prospering in the land. Unfortunately, when certain people prosper, certain other people get jealous. Enter the Philistines. They thought if they cut off Isaac’s water supply by filling his wells up with dirt, he would crumble into a blathering mess and beg for mercy. He didn’t. He continued to succeed. So the king, Abimelech, ordered Isaac to leave. Can you imagine that conversation?
Abi (that’s my nickname for the king): So, uh, yeah. Umm, Isaac, like, you’re über rich and have, like, tons o’ stuff, so, like, umm, yeah, gonna need you to go somewhere else. You’re making me look bad. People are starting to talk.
Isaac: No prob, Bob.
Isaac moved to the valley of Gerar, about nineteen miles away. Nineteen miles. By foot. I don’t like to drive nineteen miles to work much less walk nineteen miles. IN THE HEAT. With all my possessions. But he did it. No questions asked.
First order of business? He reopened his father, Abraham’s, wells and his servants dug until they found fresh water. Enter local shepherds.
“That’s OUR water. Back off. Or else.”
Isaac aptly named that well “Argument”. Although, based on scripture, the argument was a bit one-sided. So his men dug another well and discovered more fresh water. Same shepherds. Same argument. Isaac called this well, “Hostility.” Ya think? Keep in mind, each time they were digging wells, they were packing up everything and MOVING.
Isaac didn’t give up, though. He settled in another spot, dug another well. And waited. No shepherds accosted him. So Isaac breathed a little easier and called the well, “Open Space”, because God had provided him with enough space to prosper. He settled (yes, he moved again!) in Beersheba and God greeted him with the promise that he would become a great nation. God had a plan all along.
Just when we think we’ve discovered our well, God shows us another one. Not the one we think we need, but the one we actually need. See the “Open Space” well didn’t have fresh water. And in order for us to thrive, we need water. Especially Living Water.
The next time I find myself looking for hope at the bottom of a wishing well, or seeking solace in the wilderness, or battling opposition while digging all the wrong wells, I need to remember that, in spite of everything, God sees; God hears; God provides.
What wells are you digging?