Teachers will talk about ‘VAK’ing a lesson. Eh? What they’re talking about, is Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic. We all learn in different ways, some of us absorb more information by looking, some by touching and doing, and a few (not many actually) by hearing. Confucious was obviously a kinaesthetic learner when he said. “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” As a special ed teacher, I knew that kids remembered the most when they did looking, listening, touching, smelling, doing, tasting, playing, laughing and anything else I could think of!
Abraham needed Abimelech to remember – that the well belonged to him. so he used a multi-sensory object lesson. Out of the sheep and cattle he’d given him as a mark of their treaty, he set seven ewe lambs apart (Genesis 21 v 27 – 31). You can see, touch, smell, taste lambs; and if they’d just been separated from their mothers, you can be very sure you could hear them. I know a guy who really puts a knot in his handkerchief when he wants to remember something, but I bet seven sheep hanging around worked even better. But it was also a play on words, a sort of joke. The word for ‘oath’ (sheva) and the word for ‘seven’ were very similar. Abimelech would be very happy to remember the oath of allegiance that Abraham had sworn to him, so he could just go ahead and remember that ‘Beer – Sheba’ that well-of -oath/seven belonged to Abraham.
It is interesting that they were ‘set apart’ to mark the ownership of the well. When people look at us, are they reminded about who owns this whole earth? Real refreshment can only be obtained from the owner of the well. He invites all to be his guest, and come and drink. Do we point the way to the Living Water who can refresh us day by day? Are we living, breathing, visual, laughing, tasting, auditory witnesses to the owner of that Living Water?
In our lives today, most of us have to do the business of life with worldly people – at work, in business deals, in our families, at social clubs, neighbours, in the supermarket and so on. But let’s remember that our lives are ‘set apart’. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price. And it needs to be clearly marked out in our lives.