Recall that Abraham made his eldest servant swear by YAHWEH, to help secure a wife, from “his people” for Isaac his son. The servant “took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor” (Genesis 24:10), with other servants. By the time they arrived their destination, and decided to rest by a a well of water, it was evening, “even the time that women go out to draw water” (v.11), reminiscent of what you’d find in most African villages (and some towns), where the source of water is one stream, lake or well in some remote area of the village, or even tap water pumped from a borehole that’s shared by a community (not what readers from the west and other developed societies will easily grasp). Fetching of water, usually done in groups by women and children, is generally avoided in the afternoon because of the intense heat from the sun, hence making it a chore for either very early in the mornings, or in the evenings, as with what is recorded in this part of scripture.
Naturally, a well of water would be where Abraham’s servant would likely take a rest, seeing that they might have been traveling for so long, and not only the humans but the camels in the entourage would’ve become thirsty. It’s doubtful that he had the means with which to draw water from a well, which means he’d need help, and been evening his best bet would be help from the women who would come to fetch water at the well at that time of the day. The servant knowing this dynamic, also sought to kill two birds with one stone, when he prayed to YAHWEH requesting “… that the damsel to whom I shall say, ‘Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink’; and she shall say, ‘Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also’: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness into my master” (v. 14). In making this sort of request in prayer, we must be careful not to “test” YAHWEH. You know how Yahshua been hungry after forty days of fasting, was tempted of the devil to jump from a pinnacle to the ground, as it is written, that “YAHWEH will give his angels charge over you, to hold thee in their arms, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone”, but Yahshua declined, admonishing the devil, as us not to test YAHWEH, our Elohim.
In essence, over and above the requirement that Abraham made his servant swear by (in getting for Isaac a wife of his people), the servant appealed to YAHWEH to help bring unto him a wife for Isaac who is KIND. Kindness was what the person who’d do the things he mentioned in his prayer, would display or exhibit for which he’d then know that his prayer has been answered. Without sounding chauvinistic, I make bold to say that many a man seeking a life partner today look for kindhearted women, even as men are expected also to be equally kind. A kind woman blunts out sharp edges in her marriage, reducing friction amongst the many relationships which the marriage engenders or forges on all sides of the divide, unfortunately today’s society downplays character traits like that, for physical appearance, sometimes just facial beauty, in this age of SELFISM, where you’d find on some females’ Facebook page and timeline, no single word but pictures, upon pictures, upon “selfies”, of them in different shades and colours and styles, in clothing and all, in “scoliotic” poses; even some men have been bitten by the selfism bug, managing once a while to qwerty largely acerebral posts on their timelines.
Rebekah was also portrayed as HARDWORKING in going to down to the well “… with her pitcher upon her shoulder” (v. 15) like it was norm for her to do. I don’t even want to go into what parenting of girls have become in today’s world, where whether a wife should be able to cook or not, has become an object of heated discussion on social media. Interestingly, I recently read an article, that was some kind of SOS by a Nigerian mother to her peers, about how their well educated daughters were losing men to so called “maids” who were better behaved, and skilled in the ways of “pleasing men”, even with their “cooking”, and all I could contribute to the discussion was Chief Zebrudaya’s retort “Ayi-wah”, for lack of a better word, to describe results and consequences. This may not be the issues in less patriarchal societies in the world, but is reality in Nigeria, except of course where marriage is no longer a thing for today’s modern woman (and I don’t want to use the “F” word) or man.
Verse 16, of Genesis chapter 24, described Rebekah as one that was “… fair (“beautiful”, though it is not stated if she wore makeup, which except you’re watching a Nollywood movie, isn’t how you want to be when going to fetch water from a stream or well; but making up in our day has been taken to the point where it isn’t the intention of the makeup artistes to make the female look any bit the same person she was before the application of the content of the many kits, all in the name of “dolling-up” the pliant client) to look upon, a virgin (not the now popular “secondary virginity”, or the also popular “vaginal virginity”, while other orifices of the body is allowed to take in the man’s phallus), neither had any man known (had sex of whichever type) her (in case you wanted to be doubly sure of what that verse of scripture was on about, in calling her a virgin). I admit that patriarchal societies judge their males and females unequally and differently, and being from one, and as a male enjoyed the perks that such societies confer on us, but it is trite that going forward, males should be held even at higher standards than their females if we are to stem the decline in morals, and the attendant consequences of such in our society.
Well, just before the servant had finished making his request in prayer, Rebekah appeared apparently to fetch water at the same well. One of the things that keep me going in hard times, when it seems my prayers aren’t been answered or are taking far too long to get answered, is remembering days when even before I’d done making my prayers, the response is made manifest right before me. Such was the situation that day, with Abraham’s servant. Not only did she do everything the servant had asked in prayer to YAHWEH to make such a woman as would be the wife of Isaac to do, should she meet him at the well, it also turned out that Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, wife to Abraham’s brother Nahor (See Genesis 20:20-23). That was how, because of the act of putting his implicit trust in YAHWEH, what looked like a mountain before the servant was reduced to a mole hill. Once he was able to confirm who she was, and he explained his mission, also asking if Rebekah’s family could host them for the night, and got a positive response, the servant “… bowed down his head and worshipped YAHWEH” (Genesis 24:26), while Rebekah (who’d been gifted earrings and bracelets by the servant, in what may signify intent for marriage) ran to tell her family what and who she had encountered at the well.
It was Laban, Rebekah’s brother who returned to the well to welcome Abraham’s servant back to the house, including those that accompanied him and their goods-laden camels. Where they were feted and proper discussions held in earnest regarding the servants’ purpose and true intentions, relating to Rebekah. In the end, both sides reached a deal, and it was agreed that Rebekah could go on to marry her cousin Isaac, and so disposed to the idea was the former that even the proposal by her family for her to stay back for “…a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go” (v. 55), was rebuffed by her, following which they were left little to no choice than to bless her, with the words, “… Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them” (v. 60), before setting her and her nurse on her way (to Canaan to meet her husband, Issac) with Abraham’s servant, the following morning.
Lemme list the takeaways from this story:
1. Abraham’s servant placed before YAHWEH his plans and how HE could help him. He exhibited what the Igbo have a saying for, in the words, “ífé onye kwèlù, kà Chí ya g’èkwe”, literally “what you desire, is what your creator will agree with”, except otherwise, meaning then that you must then acquiesce to your “Chi”.
2. For this to work, Rebecca also had to be kindhearted, in order to meet the requirements, and indeed when the time came to be counted, she wasn’t found wanting. Therefore, if there’s something good you’re known for, don’t relent in doing them, even if the reward isn’t forthcoming, truth is there may be a day when such will count and you’d be hot on the list of those to be selected for promotion, “remember that a city set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).
3. Finally, is to stress the importance of parental blessings to a marriage, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that marital challenges will immediately disappear or not occur because a marriage was thus blessed (as even Isaac and Rebecca’s will soon come to prove), but it’s better to have it than not, as those kind of things have a way of sorting things spiritually for the couples, either early on in the marriage, or much later. Let’s ruminate on this much for now, and pray YAHWEH to continue to guide our way aright as we make important decisions like marriage, and others, that are capable of impacting our lives hugely, in Yahshua’s name, Amin!
– Genesis Chapter 24 Verses 10-61, THE WORD OF YAHWEH, © 2000