It’s easy to take water for granted when we can turn a faucet and instantly receive all the fresh, clean water we want—hot or cold—whenever we want it, day or night. We don’t even have to carry it. We have water in the kitchen, the bathroom, even the basement.
Unless you are unfortunate enough to live in Flint, Michigan, almost all the municipal tap water in the United States is safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning. America has become so dependent on government provision of water that Brian Kennedy, president of the Claremont Institute, has said that if the power grid were to go down, the majority of Americans would die from lack of food or water. (http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/early-warning-the-continuing-need-for-national-defense/)
Apart from air, water is our most basic physical need. In ancient times, wells were centers of civilization. Wells were so important to people that sometimes they named them! Have you named your kitchen faucet or your bathroom sink? Probably not!
Carol and I have named most of our cars. When we got married, we each had a car. We called her car “Rachel” and mine “Reuben” because her Rambler Ambassador had so many expensive repairs. The names came from the song “Reuben and Rachel at Christmas Time” in which Rachel wanted to spend lots of money on expensive Christmas gifts, but Reuben was too cheap to do that. The handles we gave our sad cars had genuine meaning to us!
The wells Abraham and Isaac dug in the valley of Gerar had meaningful names. The account is in Genesis 26:18-22.
Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
Esek means “contention,” Sitnah means “enmity” and Rehoboth means “plenty of room.” Wells were a cause for war in ancient times. Water is life. Whoever controlled control the wells controlled the wealth.
It’s the same today. Millions of people in third world nations still lack safe water. As a result, they suffer physically, financially and politically. Cambodian Generations for Christ is an organization which digs wells for orphans and widows who are in need of clean water. Stephanie and Leslie Frentzel recently participated on a short-term missions trip to Cambodia with a simple mission: dig wells for people who need the water of life. It’s no small thing to give children a cup of water in Jesus’ name. The Frentzels have done that and already are beginning to experience the reward Jesus promised.
This Sunday at New Life Church in Clarkfield we will hear their story. We also will hear from Dr. Paul Nuth, the founder of Cambodian Generations for Christ. If you’re in the area this weekend, you are invited.