We all know that water is a precious resource, even if we don’t act like it. I slosh water around all over the place at a baptism, making the point that God is generous, and we have more than we need, if only we share. Sharing wasn’t on the agenda in today’s reading about Isaac, as he wandered about the Promised Land that his father Abram had travelled to. Instead, every time he reopens a well that his father had dug, up pop the Philistines to take possession of it.
In Maggi Dawn‘s book, “Beginnings and Endings” she draws two conclusions from the wells (do you see what she did there? I like it!). She suggests that Isaac models being part of an in-between generation, where the Covenant has been made, but not quite fulfilled. And she points out that Isaac used his belief in God to seek peace and reconciliation with his neighbours, not to start fights with them.
The reading set me thinking along slightly differently lines, about water, about finding refreshment in places that seem arid, about returning to ways that have been helpful in the past (even though we discarded them for a while). I read a tweet earlier today which suggested that Advent was about preparing the way, not sitting in a room waiting for a baby. I don’t buy that, I think preparation is a good thing (I’m sure there’s a saying out there that “proper preparation prevents….poor performance”, but you may know its variant). But having spent a week knocked off my feet, I’m aware that there are more ways than one of preparing, that going back to my sources of well-being is a good thing, and as valid an activity as running about making stuff happen. It’s both/and, not either/or.
Isaac didn’t reopen wells as a way of keeping himself occupied when he was bored. He reopened them because they were vital to his survival. And he shared them, passed them to others. #adventbookclub is proving to be one of my wells, the people I meet through it are wells on which I draw….what are your wells? Do you know? Are there any you might like to reopen, long after you abandoned them?