Imagine that you are Rebekah, a young Aramean woman, not yet married. You live in Haran in a household that includes your elderly father but is run by your brother Laban. You have a comfortable niche, with friends and servants, a mother, maybe sisters. Life is looking good.
You wonder who you are going to marry, since this is the next thing in your life’s agenda. Your brother will be arranging that soon, no doubt. You hope and pray that your husband will be someone you like. You pray because your household knows and prays to God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, who made himself known to your family in the days when Abram, your great uncle, was young.
It’s a normal thing for you to pick up a water jar and head for the well close to sunset. It’s a social time, and things are cooling off enough in the desert town that you can stand to be outside. You approach the well, jar on your head, and look around for your girlfriends.
A man catches your attention. He’s a dust-caked traveler, the head of a mini caravan of ten laden camels and several servants. Who can this be? Even having one camel indicates great wealth. Who would have ten of them? It must be a trader. He clears his throat. “Will you get me a drink of water, if you please?”
“Of course.” You drop your jar into the well and pull it out, then pour some into the man’s water skin. He drinks his fill, and you pour some more. As he drinks, your mind wanders to his companions, who have scattered to ask other women for a drink, and then to his camels, who sniff the water-laden air and snort. They need a drink too.
“Shall I water your camels as well?”
He starts, nods, and closes his eyes as you begin to draw water for the ten great thirsty beasts. It takes nearly an hour to fill the trough enough times for the animals to stop drinking. You notice tears falling from his eyes, hard to see in the gloomy twilight. What could be wrong?
Through his tears, he smiles and gives you a nose ring and some bracelets. “Thank you for your kindness.” He asks whose daughter you are.
“Daughter of Bethuel, granddaughter of Nahor,” you reply.
You are startled when he falls to his knees, praising God. You learn that you are the answer to his prayer. He had prayed that a close relative of Abraham’s, young and marriageable, would give the man water and then offer to water his camels. She would be the one God had chosen. That would be you.
That night your brother tells you you are to become the bride of one Isaac, son of Abram, who is now Abraham, now rich, now living far away. Do you want to leave tomorrow, he asks, or wait a while? The servant plans to leave tomorrow.
Will you leave your mother, your girlfriends, your father, your town, the customs you know and love, to venture into the desert with this dust-caked man and his retinue? Will you wait for up to a year, as is customary, or will you do it NOW?
Yes, you will do it, and you will do it now. You can see the fingerprints of God in this.
And now, women who follow in Rebekah’s footsteps, will you trust God in the big things and the little things? Will you do it? Will you do it now?