The early patriarchs of the Old Testament were constantly on the move. Once Abraham separated from his kith and kin and left what is now southern Iraq, he never looked back. For the next one hundred years he and his family were pitching their tents up and down the topography of the future Promised Land. Imagine the kids screaming from the back of the camel, “Are we there yet?”
Son, Isaac, and grandson, Jacob, lived the same nomadic life as Abraham. Wherever these early biblical families traveled, the first thing they did once the tent pegs were driven into the ground was to build an altar and dig a well. One was for worship and the other was for sustenance. Both provided refreshment: one for the soul; one for the body. The First Families of the Promised Land could not live without either.
There is a story in the gospel of John where Jesus met a woman who came to a well outside the village of Sychar that was dug by Jacob nineteen hundred years earlier. Much was discussed in their brief encounter: personal thirst, personal life, personal worship. In the story Jesus offered the woman the opportunity to have her thirst quenched, not her physical thirst, but the deeper thirst for worship.
In that divine moment, Jesus became both an altar and a well, unifying the fulfilment for all human need. In the joyous rush of this epiphany, the woman forgot all about her water pot and ran back to town to tell everyone who she had just encountered and what he revealed to her. She experienced personal revelation that resulted in quenching all the deepest needs of her heart.
Nothing has changed in all the millenniums since those early days when the ancient ones dug wells and built altars. We must drink liquid to sustain our bodies. And the human soul is thirsty for the divine life. We are designed for worship, and we will worship something. What we choose to drink to satisfy our physical thirst and what we choose to worship to satisfy our spiritual longings is a choice of free will. What we drink can weaken or sustain the body. What we worship can keep us mired in a “slough of despond,” or release our souls to soar. Choose wisely.