How did Isaac get a wife? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Isaac is coming to the time in his life where he needs to get married. After all, Isaac has some responsibility. He is to carry on the family line since he has to fulfill the promise of God. Abraham having Isaac through Sarah was the first step. The promise won’t come to fruition unless a wife is sought for Isaac.
So then, Abraham sends his servant Eliezer to fetch a wife for Isaac so Isaac won’t marry a Canaanite. Now often there is much joking online about the biblical method of finding a wife and one such method is to do what Eliezer did. Unfortunately, I’m sure there are many internet atheists that think that this could be a normative case.
Eliezer’s example is not meant to be that. He just knew that this could not be something casually done. It was a serious endeavor and he knew that God was intimately involved in the life of Abraham and so he figured that God would be just as involved in what would happen with the son of Abraham. Thus, Eliezer sits down at a well and asks for something to set this lady apart.
He also says nothing about the appearance of the lady. It’s nothing like, “When a totally hot babe comes by that knocks my socks off, I will know this is the one for Isaac.” I’m sure Rebekkah was likely a beautiful woman, but what he asks for is a demonstration of her character. Hospitality was to be expected to strangers in the culture of the time, but this was more than hospitality. This was a lady who was willing to give water to Eliezer’s camels.
Do you know how much a camel can drink?
I even just now looked it up as I hadn’t thought about that and many sources are saying at least 100 liters of water can be drunk at one time. How many times did Rebekkah have to refill the water jar she had for this stranger to take care of all the camels? It would be quite a lot. That means that Rebekkah is a hard-working woman and one who does show kindness beyond the norm.
At this, Eliezer rejoices and tells the story to Rebekkah of his journey. This is a bit of a shock to us in our culture today. Rebekkah doesn’t even know who Isaac is and yet she is ready to go and commit her whole life to him and be his wife forever? In our hook-up culture, we typically hear of people having sex with people in the evening that they didn’t know in the morning, but how many of us would accept getting married to someone in the evening that you didn’t know in the morning?
We should not expect this for us today. God can work to bring some people together, but we should not expect this for everyone. What we should expect to do though is when we find ourselves in a marriage, that we should work to bring about the good of the other person and thus the good of the marriage. We spend so much time in our culture thinking about the right spouse for us, which to some extent we should, but we rarely think about if we are being the right spouse for someone else.
Maybe we should think about that last one more.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)