In John 4:6 we read, "Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore,
being wearied with (or from) His journey, sat thus on the well."
How important it is that we consider every little detail when we study
the precious Word. When we see something like we see here in this verse,
it should arouse our curiosity. I have heard it said that curiosity killed
the cat. Well, maybe it did, and maybe it didn't; it will cause us to study
the precious Scriptures more if we get our curiosity aroused enough about
something we see in the Book.
There is no unimportant nor insignificant thing to be found in God's Holy Word. The Holy Spirit never used one single word just for the purpose of making His Book larger, and therefore making it look more impressive. So, oftentimes the location, or the place where an incident takes place speaks a great message, both loud and clear, but too many times we do not get the message because our ears and our hearts are not attuned to it.
The children of Israel were in Egypt when the Lord delivered them. Egypt, therefore, is a type or symbol of the place where we were when our Lord found us. That is, Egypt is a type of the world. John the Baptist preached in the wilderness - the wilderness, therefore, is a type of the barren, desolate condition in which Israel was at that time spiritually speaking. It also speaks of the barren, desolate condition you and I were in when our Lord delivered us from our sins. Jesus spoke the first four parables of Matthew 13 which had to do with public profession of Christianity by the seaside. The sea in Scripture speaks of peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. But, when He spoke the next two which concerns only His own people we read in verse 36, "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house." The house speaks of Israel, His chosen people, or nation. So it behooves us to always consider the location at which an incident in the Scriptures takes place.
Going back to our text Scripture in John 4:6, let us notice that Jesus sat on the well. When we see this we should become curious to know why the Holy Spirit tells us that our Lord sat on the well. If the Holy Spirit merely wanted us to know that our Lord needed to rest, why did He not just say Jesus sat down to rest? When I became curious enough about this I began to study the wells found in the Old Testament. When I did this my soul was thrilled and blessed. And I trust that as we study some of these wells together your soul will be blessed as was mine.
When we begin to study any word in the Bible we should always start with the first place the word is found, for, after all, that is where God started with it. The first place we find a "well" in our Bible is in Genesis 16 where we read, "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly (harshly) with her, she fled from her face. And the Angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness." In verse 7 it is a fountain of water, but in verse 14 it is "the well." Let us notice some things connected with this well. First the "well" is where the Angel of the Lord found this poor outcast. So this well speaks of Jesus Christ. We hear Him as He says, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." And in Isaiah 12:3 we read, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Second, this well was located in the wilderness which speaks of the condition a lost person is in when the Lord finds him. And third the well was the place where God was revealed to this poor outcast woman. We hear our Lord as He says, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." So this well speaks of Christ as the One in whom the Father is revealed.
Then in Genesis 21:14-19 we read, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the Angel of God called Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her. What aileth thee Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is." And then we read, "And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water." How this does speak of our inability to see any spiritual thing until God opens our eyes that we may see. This well was there all the time, but Hagar could not see it until God opened her eyes. This does not mean that she was blind physically. She could see her child dying of thirst over there in the best shade she could find. She could see those heat waves dancing between her and her beloved child. But what she needed was that seeing eye we find in Proverbs 20:12 where we read, "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them." So for us to see spiritual things it is necessary for God to take charge. in Acts 16:14 we find that the Lord opened Lydia's heart that she might understand what Paul was preaching. And in I John 5:20 we read, "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that (or in order that) we may know Him that is true." In Isaiah 65:1 our Lord says, "I am found of them that sought me not." Most modern day preachers seem to just jump over, or ignore that last word in this sentence and thereby make it fit in with poor depraved man's thinking. But still God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts," Isaiah 55:8. And still He says, "I am found of them that sought me not."
Then in Genesis 21:29-32 we read, "And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What meaneth these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place Beersheba because there they sware both of them. Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba." This reminds us of what we see in Hebrews 7:21 where we read, "The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." So, as the well in the wilderness speaks of Christ as the one whom we could not even see until God opened our eyes that we might see, this well at Beersheba speaks of Him as our great high Priest.
In Genesis 24:10-12 we see Abraham's servant praying by the well in the city of Nahor. How this does speak of our avenue of approach to the Father. Let us notice, this servant was not praying to this well. He was praying by it. In John 16:23 our Lord said, "In that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He shall give it you." When you hear someone start praying to Jesus you can know that person does not study the precious Scriptures as he should. You have, no doubt, heard people say that prayer is the most important thing in a Christian's life. That is just like saying the most important thing in a three year old child's life is his talking to his parents. But, beloved, I say unto you, the most important thing in our lives is to let our heavenly Father talk to us in Holy Word. He knows what to say. So when we pray let us pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 29:1-3 we read, "Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it." What a lovely scene for anointed eyes to behold. And what a contrast is there between this lovely scene and the one in Genesis 21. There in the desolate wilderness the poor outcast woman had absolutely no future to look forward to until the Lord opened her eyes that she might see, but here we see this well out in the open field in plain view. Then too, we see here the sheep resting by this well. How this does speak of the sweet rest we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Exodus 33:14 our Lord said to Moses, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." And in Matthew 11:28 He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Next we go to Exodus 2:15-17 where we read, "Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well." What a comfort it is to know that when old Satan gets on our trail, we have One to whom we can flee for protection. Many a saint has gone down in shameful defeat by his trying to withstand Satan in his own strength. But not one of them has ever come to shame by fleeing to Jesus Christ of whom this well speaks. When Moses had fled from Pharaoh who is type of Satan, and had sat down by a well which is a type of Jesus Christ, we see the daughters of Jethro coming to the well for water. When these daughters of Jethro came for water the shepherds came and drove them away. How this speaks so clearly of Satan's ministers of today as they drive people away from Christ with their liberalistic infidelism and their social gospel that has no saving power. But just as Moses stood up and helped the daughters of Jethro in that far away time, we still have a few here and there who are willing to help those who desire the life giving water. But before they help those who need help they must be by the well, that is, they must depend upon the Lord of whom this well typifies.
Then when we come to Numbers 21:27 we see the well personified. There we read, "Then Israel sang this song, Spring up O well; sing ye unto it." To be sure, they were not singing unto an inanimate hole in the ground as such, but rather unto Him whom this well typifies. The well was such a clear type of their Lord they sang unto it with Him in their hearts and minds.
In II Samuel 17 we see Jonathan and Ahimaaz fleeing from Absalom and his host. In verses 18-19 we read, "But they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man's house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court (yard); whither they went down. And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground corn thereon: and the thing was not known." How this does speak of our being hid with Christ in God. As Absalom and his host knew nothing about where Jonathan and Ahimaaz were, so the world knows nothing of our heavenly position. But O precious that position is to us who are in Christ Jesus.
Then in II Samuel 23:15 we read, "And David longed, and said, O that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem." Nothing but the water from this well of Bethlehem would satisfy David's thirst. And nothing but Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem can satisfy a thirsty soul. He said in John 6:35, "He that believeth on me shall never thirst." And how we do rejoice in Proverbs 5:15 where we are told to "Drink water out of thine own cistern, and running water out of thine own well." What a far cry from the well in the wilderness that we could not so much as see until God opened our eyes to this one that is our very own. "My Jesus I love thee, I know thou art mine."
How all this does show us why Jesus sat on Jacob's well. It connected Him with all these beautiful types of Him in the Old Testament. I pity those who are unable to see our dear Lord in the Old Testament.
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