Updated: May 17
Once upon a time there was a loser—this story isn’t starting very well. Usually romantic stories begin with a brave soul, but this is THE MOST romantic story ever so there are surprises.
And Jacob’s character is definitely surprising. No skills except he’s a bold schemer, no fortune, and his twin loathes him. In fact, Esau consoles himself with thoughts of killing Jacob after their father dies. Now, that’s some bad juju.
Mom and Dad come to Jacob and say, “Get out of here. Go back to the land we came from and stay with Uncle Laban. Besides, as bad as you are, the women around here are going to make you worse. Pick a wife from Haran.”
Jacob flees. When he’s run as far as he can he lies down exhausted, using a rock for a pillow because he’s not smart enough to realize rocks are hard. That night he dreams about angels ascending and descending and God promises, “Don’t worry. I’ve got you. I’m going to do amazing things so that the whole world will be blessed.”
The next morning, Jacob says, “Sign me up for that deal! I’ll even give this God back a tenth.” #schemer
He travels on, coming to a field with sheep gathered around a well and calls out to some shepherds, “Are you from Haran and do you know Laban?” I sense he’s a little lost.
The shepherds say yes and point to Laban’s daughter. “There’s Rachel now.”
*Cue romantic music* Jacob falls hard for beautiful Rachel, who’s a damsel in distress. “It’s noon, and the sheep need water. Help the girl.”
“We can’t. We have to wait for more shepherds, then we roll the stone away.” Because the stone was freakin big.
Suddenly Jacob, who isn’t strong enough to be much of a hunter like his twin, is so filled with love he moves the stone all by himself.
Jacob and Rachel eventually get married, and Jacob was a terrible husband and father. This story is still weird. Yet, God was with Jacob, so his heart changes. When he’s old, Jacob prays before he goes to Egypt, and he blesses his children.
Isn’t that romantic? Smh.
Don’t worry, we haven’t gotten to the hero yet.
He appears centuries later at the same well, waiting for another woman who arrives late. She has her own issues—she’s from the wrong race, the wrong gender, and is lousy at picking husbands.
Jesus asks for a drink.
Stunned, she answers, “How is it you are asking me, a Samarian woman, for a drink?”
“If you knew who was asking you for a drink, you’d ask for living water,” Jesus says.
“Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well?”
Jesus must have chuckled. Jacob wasn’t great—God made Jacob great. Christ tells her he’s great enough to create a spring of living water inside her.
Like Jacob, she knows a good deal when she sees it. “Sign me up for that, Jesus.”
The Lord, however, doesn’t want to be a supplier. He wants her to know him, and what he’s capable of doing. He tells her to get her husband, and she confesses she’s single.
Jesus agrees. “You’ve been married five times and now you’re living with a man.”
Gulp. “You’re a Jewish prophet.” She changes the subject. “You worship in Jerusalem; we worship here.”
Jesus tells her where you worship will soon be unimportant. What will matter is that you worship in spirit and truth. Living water must spring up from inside, and thankfully, God is seeking the people who need a drink.
The woman doesn’t know what to say. “When the Messiah comes, he’ll straighten everything out.”
I can picture the Lord looking her in the eye for a beat before he blows her mind. “I who speak to you am he.”
The stone moves and living water springs up! She rushes to tell everyone.
Jacob didn’t have the strength to move the stone, and neither can you nor I.
Daily, the Lord brings us back to the well, so he can move our hard hearts and refresh us from his word. He’s the only hero. We come late with ruined reputations, and he gives us life. The Most Romantic Story EVER actually never ends.
Scriptures: Genesis 27:41-46, Chp. 28 - 29:12; John 4; Romans 9:10-11.