I have to admit I was baffled what was going on in Gensis 29:1-12 until I read the version in the The Message translation. OH! So all the shepherds had to wait until everyone was together and water the sheep all at once because the stone was so heavy that it took everyone. Or least a bunch of people. This was actually very kind and cooperative in the sense that no one was going to be stranded by the well, with thirsty sheep, unable to move the stone. But it definitely means waiting both for water and for pasturing. And so Rachel would have had to wait except Jacob — all by himself strong enough — moved the stone from the mouth of the well. This is pretty romantic it strikes me! We learn indirectly that Jacob is quite fit, to say the least. And helpful and eager and independent in taking action — perhaps all traits Rachel might have appreciated!
Then it struck me: the sheep (and the people) had to wait to have their thirst relieved. The NRSV repeats “mouth of the well” several times, let’s see, at least three counting “The stone on the well’s mouth….” We have thirst. We have mouths. We have water blocked by a stone. (I assume that is to keep the water clean? What do we think?) These folks of the east have a need that doesn’t seem to strike them as a problem. This is just how things are done. This is just how you live. You just thirst. You just wait.
Maybe I’m reading too much into all this; maybe not. Because Jesus a thousand or so years later is pretty clear about being living water, so that you will never be thirsty again. And he talks about this to a woman at a well!
Thank you God for your Word, that waters us, in so many ways.