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)
1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
2 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.
3 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.
4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.