Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me sip a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, and said, “Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” She added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.”
The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way to the house of my master’s kin.” Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. Genesis 24:15-28
Every time I read this story the same thought crosses my mind – even in ancient times people went to the local watering hole to pick up women. I guess it makes sense. For the same reason that people rob banks. (Because that’s where the money is…)
So Abraham’s servant arrives at the well with the plan we saw yesterday. . Let the girl to whom I shall say, “Please offer your jar that I may drink”, and who shall say, “Drink, and I will water your camels”—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. Haven’t we all done that? Especially under the chemically induced haze of potential romance?
We’ve thought, “If she looks my way one more time, I’ll go talk to her.” We’ve plucked petals from flowers, “She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not…” We look for an edge. We expect God to show up in carefully timed coincidences. We’ve decided, “Maybe this is the one!” when it turns out that we both have second cousins named Marvin.
None of this makes any sense but that’s OK because rationality is not the only aspect of our humanity we access when it comes to romance. But the servant had a plan and Rebekah fit the bill. To a tee. I doubt that the servant really needed to offer a gold nose-ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels in order to take the next step but it probably didn’t hurt.
So here we are, wondering if God can really work through such things – human body chemistry, weird coincidences, time worn dating rituals, second party mate choosing – and the story answers with a resounding YES.
God works, not only in mysterious ways, but also in delightful ways.
Let us pray: Gracious Lord, this morning we revisit the dance of courtship, the mysterious ways where our lives intersect with those with whom we desire nothing more than to spend the rest of our lives. I’m thankful this morning for Kelley and for all couples everywhere. I pray that your love might be the healing balm and binding glue that brings joy into our lives together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.