We’ve visited lots of old cathedrals and churches. In some you get a real sense of the presence of God, whilst others are little more than mausoleums. You can get a ‘feel’ about whether they are real churches, where God is at work, or whether they are more tourist attractions, with just the formalities of religion going on. But sometimes when we’ve visited abbey ruins or disused chapels, you can still sometimes get a sense of the presence of God. It’s as if where God has done amazing things at some point in the past, something remains of his Spirit in that place. People often pray in those places where revival has been strong, to try to rekindle the work that God has done in the past. I have heard this referred to as ‘reopening the wells’.
Isaac reopened the wells that his father Abraham had dug (Genesis 26 v 17 – 22). It was a hard struggle – there was a lot of contention for this precious substance of water, and they had to persist to be able to finally take ownership of a well. But on that water depended the livelihood and wealth of the entire household, so it was worth the effort!
We so need a fresh touch from God! And if it can be kindled by praying in the places where he has done great things in the past, then so be it. But let’s make sure it is a fresh touch. The old wells of Abraham were well worth reopening, but it was not enough. They needed fresh new wells too. It may take more than a few battles, but God wants to pour out his Spirit on us in a fresh way. Let us be open to the new things, and not just look back to how God worked in the past.
Finally, Isaac got the victory. He dug a well that no-one fought him for. He named it Rehoboth,saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
At a time when Christian values are being squashed out of the workplace, schools, and our communities; when ‘Christmas’ is relegated to ‘Winter Festival’; when Christians are being prosecuted for standing up for what they believe in, we certainly need ‘room to flourish in the land’. So keep ‘digging’ – the victory will be worth it!