In this week’s portion we come across a very interesting verse in Genesis 26, which says, “Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham…” Most may skip right over this passage and move on. But for me, this verse begs the question, “Why did the Philistines stop up the wells of Abraham?” In the times of Abraham, water-wells were a most vital necessity; people during those times needed wells in order to survive. Why would anyone stop up such a precious commodity?
In my opinion, there are two reasons why the Philistines stopped up the wells of Abraham. First, they didn’t care about the Land. To the Philistines, the Land of Canaan was just another territory to conquer and plunder, while to Abraham it was the Land of Promise. Second, they didn’t want Abraham to have a claim over any part of the Land. To the Philistines, Abraham was a threat to their territory. Stopping up Abraham’s wells after his death was in hopes that his descendants would move on and find somewhere else to live. Unfortunately for the Philistines, Isaac, Abraham’s son, was in every way like his father. According to tradition, Isaac was a “dead ringer look-alike” of his Father Abraham; and just from reading the Biblical text we find Isaac’s life mirroring the life of his father. Isaac lived true to the proverbs, “Like father, like son” and “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Isaac’s life exemplifies a trust in the Promises of God, but not promises made to him, rather, Isaac was faithfully continuing what his father had started.
Isaac re-dug the wells of his father. Why? He believed in God’s promises. Isaac understood something; while the world builds lofty towers to glory in the work of their own hands, a man of God digs deep wells so that all who drink may glory in the Lord.
The higher a person builds, the more they trust in themselves, but the lower a person digs, the more they look up to God. Towers are the work of men’s hands, but only God can provide pure water. Isaac faced up to the challenges of his day and faithfully walked in the calling of his father, despite the difficulties. Today, the physical/spiritual wells of Abraham are being polluted. As the world delegitimizes the physical State of Israel’s right to exist and attacks the spiritual roots of our Judeo-Christian values, it is up to us, as children of Abraham to do just as Isaac, son of Abraham did; Re-dig Abraham’s wells to provide life-giving, spiritual and physical refreshment to a desperately thirsty world.