I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.
Yesterday we saw how this longest chapter in Genesis had many hints of God’s hand over Abraham’s family and the “seed of promise.” Today we see how the events of this story tell us much about the nature of marriage itself.
Though we can’t be sure, many believe that Abraham’s “senior servant” is Eliezer of Damascus, who would have been Abraham’s heir had Isaac not been born (15:2). Isaac’s birth ended Eliezer’s chances of great wealth, but he showed love for both Abraham and Isaac in undertaking this journey of hundreds of miles, with a mission that, if successful, would further undermine his inheritance. Eliezer obeyed Abraham out of generosity.
Abraham’s servant trusted God enough to leave the result with Him, but that did not preclude using his own wisdom. His test (v. 14) did much to reveal character. To give a person water would mean basic, expected hospitality. To give water to a camel after a journey of hundreds of miles required a sacrifice. Rebekah not only worked hard to water the camels (a long process), she offered lodging. She gave freely of herself and her household. The fact that she left her family to marry someone she had never met showed her to be a woman of trust and faith.
The backdrop of generous giving should inform our understanding of Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage (v. 67). After such a long story, we might expect a more drawn out ceremony, but the marriage took place when Isaac “brought her into the tent.” The sexual act is indeed the “act of marriage,” when husband and wife give of themselves freely to one another. In a story filled with generous love, their marriage is the perfect consummation to this narrative
Apply the Word
The principles outlined here matter to all marriages. When founded on generous giving, our unions will be a source of life and blessing. This blessing is not intended just for ourselves, but also for us to share with our children, relatives, and others in our lives. Whether or not you are married, pray that God will make your life a source of blessing to others.