Digging Wells: Part 2
Read Genesis 26:12–28.
The two wells just spoken of, Sitnah and Esek, were Isaac’s own attempts and flesh attempts at that, at well digging. When he opened up the old wells that his father had dug everything was alright, but when he tried to dig in his own way the result was a well of contention and another of hatred. Now he turns his back on these two wells and the 22nd verse says “he removed from thence.” That is the best way I know, out of a situation like the one in which Isaac found himself. Paul greatly rebukes contention among well diggers and brother going to law against brother and he tells us we had better suffer loss than to get into this kind of a situation. I have seen much of this contention among Christians, where if only one of them would stop talking, or in other words do as Isaac did “remove from thence,” there would be no more quarrel. As someone has said, “It takes two to make a quarrel” and when a Christian can walk away and leave even the wells he has dug, God gives glory.
A Doctor Answered
I remember a doctor who loved to tell folks that he was an atheist; he loved to come to the meetings that I was holding, sit in the back and start an argument with the personal workers and always won the argument because he was a good debater and reveled in it and seemed to delight in getting a young Christian all muddled up when he asked him if he was saved. We had a Swedish boy who had been saved from an awful life of sin; he wore a heavenly smile, the like of which I had never before seen on a countenance and with his light silvery hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and a set of white ivory teeth, he looked like an angel when he smiled. He walked up to the doctor one night and asked him if he was saved and the doctor went for him like a wolf goes after a lamb, you could hear him half way across the auditorium shouting at this poor Swedish lamb; the boy would put in a word now and then or would start from another angle. The argument had gone on for about ten minutes when finally the Spirit won and the boy obeyed the Spirit—he smiled sweetly into the doctor’s face and said, “Just one more word: you beat me in my argument, because you been very smart in your head, your head beat my head, but your heart can’t beat my heart, Jesus hasn’t moved a bit, all the time you have been talking, I still got Him here in beautiful peace. Good-night. God bless your dear soul.” The doctor talked on, but the little Swedish boy, like Isaac, “removed from thence,” and left the doctor to his words and his worldly wisdom, but that night was the strangest that Doctor Walcott had ever spent. The Holy Spirit just kept throwing the spirit of that boy back into the doctor’s memory and his sweet words “Your heart can’t beat my heart,” rang in his ears. When next week, he was converted, he told how the Spirit had used the sweet giving-up spirit of this boy to win him to Jesus.
You may be digging what you think are splendid wells, but they have brought hatred and contention. We have to learn to “turn the other cheek” and take God as our defense and let the despisers of those that are good wag their heads.
When Isaac had gone to another place he digged another well and called it Rehoboth, which means room, and said “for now the Lord hath made room for us and we shall be fruitful in the land.” May be you are looking for room, may be you are looking for liberty, but perhaps you are looking for it like Jonah. Jonah thought Ninevah was a narrow, cramped place and he refused to be squeezed into it, he wanted liberty and room and he got on a ship that was sailing out into the big world, away from the narrow, contracted place that God wanted to put him into. Oh, how often the flesh has made Christians feel like running away from a place that God has appointed them, has made them feel that they could not stand their position another day. They have shut their teeth and said I am going to resign and they have gotten on their boat of resignation and sailed forth to other fields, only to find out that they were in a tighter place; then other trouble began to come, the waves began to roll and there was not any peace, until they finally dived off of the ship on which they thought they were going to escape. God prepared another kind of adversity, in the shape of some big fish, maybe it was sorrow and real bereavement, they thought it would swallow them up, they thought the end had come, their days of usefulness had passed, they said to themselves, they knew they had failed God and worse than that, they felt that He could never use them again, but God knows how to make adversity sail to shore and throw up the victim.
A Large Place
Most of the men and women that I know of, who have come into a large place with God, namely the fullness of the Holy Spirit, have gotten there when they were really up against it and had to cry to God. The account says “Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God, out of the fish’s belly, and said I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” If you could call back from the dead the fathers who have been used of God, they would put their fingers on this passage and say to you with burning lips: “There was the great turning point in my life, in the hour of my great adversity and out of my dilemma of the flesh life, I cried unto God and He heard me and I moved out of my dilemma, which was the will of my flesh, into the Holy Ghost, into the will of God, to live and abide there.”
Now Jonah found that the little place and the narrow place was any place outside of God’s will, but the big place was just the place that he thought was a little place, but that place was in God’s will or in Nineveh. Jonah dug his well in an hour of adversity and after a season of contention and argument and he struck a great big wide place, yes, Nineveh was roomy now, it was big and God filled Jonah and Nineveh with His Spirit, and the people cried out at the preaching of Jonah and repented in sack-cloth and ashes.
Don’t stop with your well of strife and contention, but dig again in the hour of adversity and name your well Rehoboth. Yes brother, there is plenty of room in the will of God. Of course, the devil will tell you that you will be pinched and cramped and that you will have to suffer lots and you won’t prosper and that you will have to give up a whole lot and you will have to have a long face and all that kind of stuff if you really give up to the will of God, but praise God the devil is a liar. The greatest liberty that any human soul has ever known and the spaciest place it has ever walked or ever will walk, is in the sweet will of God. Moses found this was so; he ran out of Egypt to get out of his trouble. Things were closing in on him in Egypt, the chief of police would soon have had him in the lock-up and Moses flew for liberty and yet God sent him straight back to Egypt, where, in the will of God he was not afraid of kings, devils or men for He who said “I am that I am” was with him and Moses had plenty of room.
The Scripture says that Isaac “went up from thence to Beersheba.” Beersheba was the old well of the oath or the covenant which Abraham made with Abimelech “and Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord the everlasting God,” and as Abraham, his father had here called upon the name of the Lord, the everlasting God, so his son followed in his father’s footsteps and called upon the name of the Lord and Isaac and the Lord had a good talk together. Isaac had gotten back to the place of covenant and the Scripture says “and the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father; fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake, and he builded an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.”
Pitch Your Tent
Oh how many souls have reached this place where the Lord has appeared to them, but they did not pitch their tent at the place of blessing. It is abiding at the place of blessing that brings the continuous victory, it is living in the spirit, living at Beersheba, that brings the glory and the victory and the power. This is why the Spirit says “men ought always to pray and not to faint.” This is pitching your tent at the place of blessing. Many times I have been to a great conference where God poured out a great blessing upon the Christian workers, and then before they closed the night instead of abiding in the place of blessing, these same workers have felt that they needed a change and probably would sit around in the parlor and for the first few minutes would talk of the blessings of the service and the blessings of the day, but ere long the moments passed, and the conversation and the remarks had drifted to Christian workers in different fields and then just a little criticism of some things that one of the speakers might have said and then a little more criticism and before long the Spirit was grieved. Maybe they broke up and went to their rooms without a closing season of united prayer, thus they had been at Beersheba, but Beersheba, through criticism was behind their backs. They had not pitched their tents there. Oh, beloved, if you would keep this abiding spirit of the Holy Ghost burning in your breast, get out your sledge-hammer and drive your stakes down deep, tighten up your cords and spread the tent against the winds and the water and abide at Beersheba. The sledge-hammer drives the stakes of faith that nail your spirit to the spot and the cords which you tighten as you walk about the tent are the breathings of your spirit in continued prayer.
Dig Your Well
Now comes the final act and that is, you must dig your well, for the Scripture says next: “There Isaac’s servants digged a well.” You must let God take this place of blessing, this season of refreshing, this taking of the oath and covenant making and seal it to you with a passage of Scripture which you cannot forget. You must pin your blessed experience exactly together with God’s Word or it is not a well of water and will only be a passing emotion and not a well-marked doctrinal and scriptural experience, into which you can lead others.
In this beautiful place Isaac strikes water, for the Scripture says: “And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came and told him concerning the well that they had digged, and said unto him, we have found water, and he called it Shebah, therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.”
Blessed Of The Lord
Another remarkable thing is that Abimelech, who had made an oath with Abraham at this same place, comes now with his friends and the chief captain of his army to make an oath, a covenant with Isaac. It was a surprise to Isaac, for Abimelech was his enemy. Yes, beloved, when you are in the place of blessing with God and your heart is running over with the living water, he will make your enemies to be at peace with you. Isaac said unto Abimelech: “Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you,” and the final word of Abimelech’s answer was this: “…thou art now the blessed of the Lord.” Oh, what a name for a man! God give us a crowd of them! Then they turned around and Isaac organized a camp meeting, or as the Scripture says: “And he made them a feast and they did eat and drink, and they rose up betimes in the morning and sware one to another and Isaac sent them away and they departed in peace.”
Yes, it pays to dig wells; if you have not gone on with the Lord, dig your Bible out and shut your door and pray to your Father which is in secret and your Father which heareth in secret shall reward you openly. Amen!
If you mssed part one of this message, click here.