There are many types and shadows in the Old Testament of Jesus and the events past and future, and each has its own beauty that provides revelation and insight into our lives in Christ.
Isaac and Rebecca
Perhaps though, no Old Testament type is as beautiful as the story of Rebecca and Isaac.
The story begins in Genesis 24 where we are told Abraham was very old and sought a wife for his son, Isaac. We are told in v36 that perhaps in anticipation of his death, Abraham had given everything he had to Isaac. Consider that for a moment. Isaac is rich. All that his father had, he had given to Isaac.
The type is set then, the Father is represented by Abraham, and Isaac represents Jesus. The Father has given all things to His Son. Abraham the Father sends Eliezer back to Abraham's home to find a wife for Isaac (Jesus). Eliezer is a type of the Holy Spirit, sent from the Father to 'home' to find a bride for His Son.
Eliezer we are told in v10, loads 10 camels largely with gifts for the bride, which is a type of the Holy Spirit and His gifts, character building grace and fruit of the Spirit given to us.
She kept herself for a future groom
When Eliezer arrives at Abraham's homeland he stops so the camels could have water after the long journey. Sources vary on how much water a thirsty camel can drink, but the most common number I found was 53 US gallons. (200+ liters). Eliezer was asking in prayer that whoever the young woman was at the well, that she would water him and his 10 camels - a big ask!
Of course we know it was Rebecca who not only gave Eliezer water, but volunteered to water all the camels, potentially over 500 gallons or 1000 liters. Next time you are at the store and see all those 2 liter soft drink bottles lined up on the shelf, imagine 500 of them and then imagine taking a jug you carry on your shoulder, lowering it into a well, hauling it up out of the well and over to a trough - if Rebecca had a 2 gallon pot (7.5 liter) that is about 250 trips to the well and back! Lest you think she called for help, the text says several times it was she alone who did that work.
Verse 16 says this: "And the girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her..." Some Jewish commentators make note of the apparent double reference to her sexual purity, noting the 2nd mention that 'neither had any man known her' is not sexual in reference, but rather that she didn't have male friends but kept herself for the future 'Mr. Right'. They note her character was circumspect, moral, and that she had boundaries. She was not only a virgin, but she kept that as a treasure for her husband, keeping boundaries around her concerning men.
What a beautiful picture of the way we disciples of Jesus are supposed to be! We are told that friendship with the world's system (cosmos, or world's ways, in the Greek) is enmity with God. We are to keep ourselves for the Lord!
Back to our story
Why do you think Eliezer was looking for a strong woman? Being a type of the church, is it possible the Lord is looking for strong people as well? Strong of character, strong in stamina.
Consider the life of Rebecca for she is known as a woman of strength and action. She watered all 10 camels. She later gave birth to twins Jacob and Esau, with Jacob grabbing Esau's heel in the birth canal - this before the days of C-sections and anesthetic! She came from a dysfunctional family; her brother* Laban would later trick Rebecca's son Jacob into marrying Leah rather than Rachel, and keep them enslaved 20 years**. (*v29) (**31: 38)
She and her husband Isaac weren't the most communicative with each other about their sons, for she took action to be sure the right son got the birthright, even by deceit. She was not a woman of words, but of actions. She was strong. She was a clever. She was a woman of action! So too is the church to be - wise in the ways of the world, yet keeping our integrity and Christ-like character, and fruit of the spirit/Spirit.
I like to say it this way: The things you think disqualify you from being used or even loved by the Lord, are the very things that have made you strong and qualified you for a life of difficulty in the Lord! It is what Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2: 3-7 when he told him to work like a farmer, train like an athlete, endure hardship like a soldier that we may please our Enlistment Officer! The things Satan put you through were like a trick on him, for you were like iron in the forge, made fit for the King!
Back to the well...
Genesis 24: 21 tells us Eliezer, the type of the Holy Spirit, stood by to watch her work. We might say it this way - in the presence of the Holy Spirit she went repeatedly back to the well of living water, to water the needs before her. We must continue to go back to the well.
She no doubt would take a drink now and then to keep herself going, but the bulk of her efforts focused on giving living water to thirsty camels - camels are unclean so a picture of us bringing Christ to the unsaved is what we gain from this. We go back to the well how many times? How strong are we encouraged to be, to faint not, to not be weary in well doing? Such is the life of the saint - we are here to serve not be served - just like our Master.
When Rebecca has finished watering the camels, v22 tells us this: "And it came to pass as the camels had done drinking, that the man (Eliezer) took a golden 'earring' of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; and he said, 'Whose daughter are you?'" The margin of my Bible suggests the 'golden earring' was in Hebrew, a jewel or jewelry for a headdress, one that was worn around the head and over the forehead.
This giving of a small part of jewelry is like the born again experience. These are not all the gifts the Holy Spirit has for us, it is a mere token. We are told in Ephesians 1: 13-14: "...in whom after you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the pledge (earnest money, less than the down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession..." Rebecca got the down payment, the rest would come later.
At this point Rebecca has never seen her groom, has no idea how wealthy he is, has no idea she has a home in the groom's Father's house...next week then! Until then, blessings,
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