09 May Digging Wells
After 1,152 hours, my three sisters and I have COMPLETED cleaning out my mom and dad’s house of 33 years. Thanks to COVID-19, our schedules were wiped clean and we got to work. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was NOT an easy job.
Now sitting in the stillness, I am intrigued how Scripture can be read differently in different circumstances. After cleaning my parent’s house, Genesis 26:17-22 jumped off the page and into my heart. It’s unlikely this Scripture would stir the soul, but the Spirit moved in, snuggled close, and made room.
Made room? That’s odd. Actually, it’s the reason why my sisters and I made the journey out alive (and still love each other!)
Genesis 26:17-22 reads:
- 17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
- 19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
Esek, Sitnah, and Rehoboth.
Three wells that were previously dug by Isaac’s father Abraham. Three wells that once brought life and sustenance. Three wells that had significance, history, memory, and names. Three wells that brought fresh water.
Wells that were now disputed and quarreled over until one flowed with fresh water and allowed room enough for God to work.
The International Children’s Bible names the three wells this way:
As I think about my journey the past six weeks, my sisters and I were privileged to uncover the “wells” my parents had dug. The wells of jewelry, silver, furniture, paintings, kitchen ware, linens, books, childhood memories, pictures, seasonal decorations, fishing gear, old sorority shirts (yes ~ two Theta’s and two Chi-O’s), and even perfume that reminded us of our grandmother. The wells of history, significance, and fresh memories that brought back life.
Each day, as we reported for duty at 9:00 am to uncover new “wells,” my oldest sister would say this simple prayer, “Lord I pray we would honor You, honor mom and dad, honor each other – because no material “thing” is worth our relationship, and I pray we would finish well (ha- no pun intended!) And each day, we had a choice to make. Would we uncover the well of fight, argue, or make room?
For the record, I’m not saying that we were perfect. After all:
We are girls.
We are sisters.
We are human.
But we are all believers in Christ and allowed the room and the grace.
I see it all so clearly now. When you make room, your heart changes. Your attitude changes. Your spirit changes. Making enough room for God allows the Holy Spirit to invite “peace” and commands “it’s mine” to leave the house. Making room invites love, patience, kindness, and joy. Jealousy, bitterness, and “that’s what I wanted” are escorted out the back door. There is not enough room for both.
Think of what you are facing today.
Will “fight” and “argue” be invited? Or will “make room” have the only standing invitation?
It’s an amazing exercise that I have practiced many times since my sisters have left.
When I feel like I not getting my way and my voice is not being heard, I know I have the decision to change course. When I feel like anger is welling up within me and “fight back” seems to be my natural instinct, I know I have the choice to move on from that well and find the fresh water that makes room enough for God to work.
So let’s ask. And ask again.
Are you making room for God to work in your situation – allowing His truth to spring up in your soul and wash out the contention inside of you? Are you moving on from the wells of “fight” and “argue” and allowing the Holy Spirit to bubble up inside and wash out bitterness and pride? Are you allowing the living water to cover the areas of jealousy and “it’s mine?” Because when you do, you will flourish in the land.
Flourish means to be fruitful, bear fruit, and grow. Only with the Fruit of the Spirit can we produce the fruit of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Only when we make room can we be successful.
I want to end with a simple thank you to my three older sisters, Muffet, Cameron, and Susan who have loved me all these 50 years. For all the ballet recitals, pestering, and baby sister antics … I look up to you and admire you in so many ways.
We are now digging wells of our own that one day our kids will uncover. Let us carry on Mom and Dad’s legacy well, continue the story, and show the next generation to always make room for Jesus.
Happy Mother’s Day. Happy Birthday, Susan! (May 9th)
I love you.