Rolling the Stone


You have probably heard about the English band Rolling Stones, but have you heard about rolling the stone. Genesis 29:1-11 gives the account of Jacob rolling the stone that covered the well, where he meets his future wife, Rachel. When Jacob arrives at the land where his mother Rebekah had asked him to go – her father’s place, he looked and saw a well in the field. It was the well that watered the flocks and there were three flocks of sheep lying by it. And a great stone covered the well. When the flocks gathered, it would take a few shepherds to roll the stone off the mouth of the well to water their sheep and after the flocks were quenched of their thirst, the shepherds would put the stone again upon the well’s mouth, possibly to keep the water from evaporation or the wells from being stopped (Genesis 26:18). When Jacob saw his mother’s brother, Laban’s daughter, Rachel, at a distance, he approached the shepherds that had gathered there and asked to water the sheep and feed them, though he knew that it was not yet the time to do so. They responded that they could not, because all the flocks had not yet gathered there at the well, and that the stone on the well had not yet been rolled. Then as Rachel came toward the well, Jacob went near it, and single-handedly rolled the stone that covered the well and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother, which Rachel kept as a shepherdess.

The Bible does not explicitly state Jacob’s intent in rolling the stone from the mouth of the well. We can only speculate as to whether it was a show of his strength to impress his future wife, or if it was a demonstration of his spirit of service. One thing we can extrapolate however from the sequences of events is that up to this time, we know of Jacob as the deceiver who did not really work hard to get what he wanted – usurping his brother’s birthright and blessings – but now after his encounter with the Lord God, enroute to his mother’s brother’s place, for the first time we see Jacob working hard, not to take but to give.

Points to ponder:
When we encounter the Lord God in our life’s journey, and we believe in Jesus Christ, we are changed from being deceivers (James 1:22) to becoming doers of his work and will – which is to muster his Holy Spirit (and not our own strength) to co-labor with the Lord and roll the stone covering the hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) of people, so that the God’s Holy Spirit – The Living Water – can quench their spiritual thirst. Are you and I a stone roller?

Genesis 29:1-11 (KJV)
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.
And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

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Arriving at the destination


Rebekah, Jacob’s mother had asked Jacob to go to her brother Laban in Haran and stay there a few days until his brother, Esau’s fury had turned away (Genesis 27:43-46). Through the journey we learn that Jacob encounter’s God in a dream, and is assured of God’s presence, provisions and protection (Genesis 28:13-16). Genesis 29:1 reads “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.” In other words, it was after Jacob’s encounter with God, he continued on his journey, that he was set out to, and arrived at the place where he was asked to go. He enquires of the people (shepherds) that he met there and confirmed that it was indeed the destination that he was to arrive at.

Points to ponder:
While this may seem like a natural set of events on the periphery, we must recognize that Jacob’s arrival in the land where he was sent to, was indeed a testament of God’s promises coming true – the promise of God’s presence, provisions and protection. In like manner, after our encounter with Jesus Christ, we are on a spiritual journey and the very fact that we will arrive at our destination (a city whose architect and builder is God himself – Hebrews 11:10) is a testament to God being faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). For Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, and it is only he who is wise and Savior, who can keep us from falling and present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24-25). We can arrive at our destination because God is with us – He is Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23).

Genesis 29:1-6 (KJV)
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

Giving back to God


Genesis 28:20-22 gives the account of a promise that a man (in this case Jacob) makes to God in response to God’s promise to him of giving him and his seed the land where in he was. Jacob vowed conditionally that if God was with him and if God keeps him in the way he should go and give unto him food (bread to eat) and clothes (raiment) to put on, then the Lord shall be his God and of all that God gives him, he will surely give the tenth back to God (Genesis 20-21).

The Lord God promised to be with him (Genesis 28:15).
The Lord God promised to keep him (Genesis 28:15).
The Lord God promised to provide for him (Genesis 28:13).
The Lord God identified himself to be the God of his grandfather Abraham and of his father Isaac.

Now Jacob is personalizing that this same Lord would also be his God (not just that of his fathers) (Genesis 28:13,22). Jacob also recognizes that the source of everything that he will get is God for he exclaims “and of all that thou (God) shall give me.”

Points to ponder:
God has given to all mankind his only begotten Son, Jesus (John 3:16).
Jesus promised to be with us, even to the ends of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus assured us that if anyone believes in him, no man can pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28) – in other words, we are kept in Jesus’ hands.
Jesus assured us that we ought not to worry about what we shall eat or drink or wear, for the heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for us (Matthew 6:31-33) and that we ought to seek God and his Kingdom first.

Jesus need not only be the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – he can be ours too. Have you asked him to be your God?
While we can never out-give God, we learn from the Holy Scripture that Jesus gave himself totally for you and me and he has given us eternal life – Are we willing to give back to him, our life, at least a tenth of it – if not more? Think about it and act on it.

Genesis 28:20-22 (KJV)
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

From Luz to Bethel


Genesis 28:18-19 reads “And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

The name of the Hittite city where Jacob consecrated a pillar from the stone he has used as pillows was Luz. According to Strong’s Hebrew dictionary, Luz means an almond tree/wood, and the name of the city was possibly named such because of the almond trees in that region (Genesis 30:37), but Strong’s Hebrew dictionary also indicates that Luz could mean, to turn aside, depart, crookedness or perverseness, possibly because of the wicked people of the city. While either of these meanings are subject to human interpretation, what we ought to recognize from this account, is that where the Lord God is, and where there is a consecration of the place – then that is Bethel (House of God).

Points to ponder:
When we believe in Jesus Christ, as our Lord, Savior and King, we are turned aside from our perverseness of sin and the Holy Spirit of God is poured upon us, like oil anointing our head (Psalm 23:5) and Jesus who has been standing at the door of our heart and knocking (Revelation 3:20) comes into our lives and takes residence. In other words, we become the house (temple) of God. We go from being Luz (crooked and perverse in our sinfulness) into being Bethel (the House of God – perfect). Are you a Luz or a Bethel?

Genesis 28:18-19 (KJV)
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

Jacob’s Pillow and Pillar


Pantheon - The Paul Family Pantheon - OculusWhen we visited the Pantheon in Rome, what struck us in this architectural splendor is the girth and strength of the pillars that hold the ceiling of the entrance into the dome, which has within it in the center, an oculus through which sun light enters into the building. As we waited for our turn to go in, we leaned and against the pillars at the entrance, which supported us.

Genesis 28:18 records that when Jacob rose from his sleep, in which he dreamed of the Lord God and his ladder, the gate of heaven, he work up early in the morning and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar and consecrated it by pouring oil on top of it. While the exact significance of what Jacob did is not explicitly given in the book of Genesis, we are told that what once served as a head rest (a pillow) now served as a reminder and refuge (a pillar of strength), consecrated by oil.

Points to ponder:
Jesus expressed that he would give rest unto all who come to him (Matthew 11:28). In other words, he would be their spiritual pillow. He also expressed that he was the chief cornerstone (pillar) – a refuge of strength to all who believe and lean on him (as one would lean on a pillar). The Holy Spirit (symbolized by oil in the Scripture) was over him at his baptism, consecrating the one who consecrates all, and Christ Jesus is The Pillar of God.

We can rest on Jesus, who is the only entrance (the gate of heaven) into where God, the Father of lights (James 1:17) can shine over us. Come unto him and he will give you rest and refuge, for Jesus is Jacob’s pillow and pillar.

Genesis 28:18 (KJV)
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

Gate of heaven


When Jacob woke up from his sleep in which he dreamed of the angels of God ascending and descending the ladder that led from earth up to heaven, he expressed and said that the place where he was, was the house of God and that place was the gate of heaven. The gate of heaven implies that the one who enters through that gate would be able to enter into heaven.

Points to ponder:
When Jesus spoke with Nathaniel and Nathaniel believed that Jesus was the Son of God and the King of Israel, Jesus assured him saying that thereafter he shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon him, the Son the man (John 1:51). In other words, Jesus is Jacob’s ladder, the gate of heaven. Jesus said, that he is the gate (door) and if any man enter by him, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9). Jesus is The gate of heaven – there is no other gate by which man can enter into heaven. The question is have you believed in him i.e., have you entered into the gate of heaven?

Genesis 28:12,17 (KJV)
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

17 
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

John 1:51 (KJV)
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

John 10:9 (KJV)
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Unaware of God’s presence


As Jacob was running away from his brother Esau, he stopped at a certain place to rest for the night and he dreamed. In his dream he saw the ladder set on the earth and the angels of God, ascending and descending on it and on top of it, he saw the Lord God standing. The Lord assured him of his presence, preservation and protection. When Jacob woke up from his sleep, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

Points to ponder:
Into this dark world, where sin as the pitch of night abounds, God has shined his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ – The Light of the World and Jesus’ presence, preservation by his Holy Spirit and protection is assured to all who believe in him and yet, many a times, we are unaware of God’s presence, as Jacob was. Let us recognize that God is in this place, no matter what the circumstances of your life are or how bleak the world may seem. Surely the Lord is in this place for Jesus is Emmanuel and that means God is with us – Are you and I aware of his presence? or as we saying, “I knew it not.” John 17:3 says – “To know God is Eternal life.” Are you assured of eternal life?

Genesis 28:16 (KJV)
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.