Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.…
I. THE STRANGER AT THE WELL Jacob.
1. The journey ended. Canaan, Bethel, and his father's house behind him. Mountains, deserts, rivers, and rocky wildernesses between. God had kept him (Genesis 28:20), so far, from wild beasts and robbers, and all " perils of the wilderness."
2. He arrives on the confines of civilized life once more; yet knows not how near the end of his journey he is. Finds flocks, and pasturage, and the dwellings of men.
3. Rests by the well side. Knows that it will soon be the meeting-place of men, from the flocks that are gathering round the spot.
4. The shepherds arrive. He converses with them. Finds they are of Haran, the place he is journeying to. Inquires concerning his kindred. Discovers that they are well, and that Rachel, the daughter of Laban, is on the way to water the flock.
II. THE SHEPHERDESS. Rachel.
1. Primitive habits, and pastoral life in the East. The daughters of large land owners, and men of substance, tending sheep.
2. Rachel approaches the well. Finds a stranger sitting near. Knows him not. He has been told who she is.
3. Though weary with his journey, Jacob rises, and rolls the stone away, and waters Rachel's flock for her. Rachel doubtless wondering at this unexpected kindness.
4. Jacob, having watered the flock, salutes the shepherdess after the common fashion of the country. A courteous and customary greeting.
5. Jacob weeps tears of joy that he has found the kindred of whom he is in search; and of thankfulness that God has so far guided and blessed him. Rachel wondering.
6. Jacob tells his story. Mentions the name of that Rebekah of whom she had heard, and who years before had gone across the great desert to her distant home.
III. THE WELCOME HOME. The home of Laban.
1. Rachel, full of joyful surprise, hastens forward, and tells the story of the strange traveller to her father.
2. Laban, also surprised, quickly goes to the well to meet him. Salutes him, as Jacob had saluted Rachel, and brings him home. Eastern hospitality.
3. Jacob repeats his story to Laban. Doubtless, while silent about many things, related that the birthright and the blessing were his; and described the vision he had by the way.
4. Laban cordially — because of his relationship especially — invites Jacob to abide with him. Learn:
I. That a good man's steps are ordered of the Lord, and He delighteth in his way.
II. If we commit our way unto the Lord, He will bring it to pass.
III. As Jacob watered Rachel's flock, so should we be self-denying and helpful.
IV. Aim, like Rachel, at living a useful life. It was when she was employed in her works of duty that she met with Jacob.
V. Like Jacob, acknowledge God as the giver of all good, and the guide of our life.
(Jr. C. Gray.)
We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together. —
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.