“It was evening and time for the women to come to the well for water. A strikingly beautiful young woman was there with her large clay pitcher, ready to lower it into the well, when she heard the clop-clop of camels slowing under the shouts of their drivers. A small but luxurious caravan appeared out of its own cloud of dust, and a man, dignified by his age and his expensive clothes, dismounted and walked toward her.”1

“The well was back in Mesopotamia, in the city of Nahor, where Abraham’s brother, Nahor, still lived with his wife and children. The traveler was Abraham’s faithful, unnamed servant, who had prayed … that the Lord God would honor his important mission. He had made an oath with Abraham that he would find a suitable wife for his beloved son, Isaac, from among Abraham’s own people. But not any wife would do! The servant had been specific when he prayed … May it be so, that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please lower your pitcher so that I may drink’ and who shall answer, ‘Drink and I’ll water your camels too,’ that she may be the girl you have chosen for your servant Isaac… By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master, Abraham….” 

Did you notice how specific the servant was in his prayer? He reasoned that one who would give him a drink, and water the camels as well, would be sufficiently helpful, industrious, energetic, and hospitable to qualify. Isaac’s wife needed to be these things to make the long trip back, assume responsibilities as the mistress of a large household and bear the promised seed. 

But such a response would be almost too much to expect! Drawing enough water to satisfy the thirst of ten camels (v. 10) would be an exhausting task. Could he, a stranger, ask a woman to do that? He must have reasoned, “but if she offers to do so”… And so God directed his thoughts as He will do for us, too, if we remember to ask Him to! 

Before he had even finished praying (does this remind you of Ephesians 3:20?), God answered. Continuing Eugenia Price’s comments: “The dark-eyed young woman watching him walk toward her caught his attention at once. Among the other women gathering at the well, she was like a tall, fresh lily standing in a bed of thistles. He asked for water, and every single specification of his prayer began to be met: she showed kindness and courtesy. And the sort of warm-heartedness gentle Isaac needed in his wife; her physical strength was extraordinary….A woman who could draw and carry enough water to quench the thirst of a caravan of camels was no weakling. Rebekah met every requirement and more.”  And Scripture says she ran as she did it (v. 20).

Without saying a word, the servant watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful (v. 21).

“Everything this woman does, she does beyond expectation, the old servant mused to himself as he watched her set down the last water pitcher with enough youthful energy left to run, flushed and even more beautiful, back to where he waited. She smiled at him, then threw back her head in the sheer joy of accomplishment.” 

“Before he handed her the most beautiful gold bracelets and ring she had ever seen (totaling about four and one half ounces of gold!), the old man asked cautiously, wanting each detail to be in order: ‘Whose daughter are you? And please tell me, is there room at your father’s house for us to lodge?’ Her answers to these questions would be his ultimate sign that the Lord God had led the servant to this remarkable young woman.” 

“She answered, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor’ And she added, ‘We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as space for you to spend the night.’” (vv. 24-25).This was perfect!  Nahor was Abraham’s brother!

“Then the man bowed down and worshipped the Lord, saying, ‘Praise be to the Lord…who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master… As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives’” (vv. 26-27). 

How does this apply to us? It means that when we are busy doing what we know to be God’s general will (faithfulness, obedience, right attitude), He will give us whatever specific direction we still need. Have you noticed how much easier it is to steer a moving car than one that’s standing still? In other words, if we’re moving, busy serving God, rather than sitting around waiting for direction, it’s more likely that He will show us the specific details we want to know. 

Suppose Rebekah hadn’t been generous and helpful in offering to draw water for the camels to drink? Suppose she hadn’t given that extra effort? She would have missed the blessing of God’s specific will for her life. But because she was sensitive and obedient to God’s promptings (those little promptings from the Holy Spirit), she experienced God’s choice for a lifetime partner.  Let’s keep watering those camels! 

  1. God Speaks to Women Today by Eugenia Price, p. 40-41