There is a big difference between the search for a bride for Isaac and the way Jacob does it. In the search for Rebekah (Gen 24:12-14,21,26,27,42-48,52,6312He said, “O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham.13Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water;14now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’—[may] she [be the one] whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.”21Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the LORD had made his journey successful or not.26Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD.27He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.”42“So I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful;43behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar”;44and she will say to me, “You drink, and I will draw for your camels also”; let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’45“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew, and I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’46She quickly lowered her jar from her [shoulder], and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’; so I drank, and she watered the camels also.47Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.48And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son.52When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD.63Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.) prayer takes a large place. We don’t read anything about that here. The servant in Genesis 24 has all the treasures of his lord with him. Jacob has nothing. But just like the servant, the meeting takes place at a well. However, the well is closed here and in Genesis 24 it is not. And while the servant goes directly back with Rebekah, Jacob abides in the foreign land for a total of twenty years.
Jacob comes to a well on his journey to his mother’s land. Three herds are stationed there. On the well is a large stone. It is difficult to dilate it alone, therefore several shepherds are needed. That’s why the shepherds wait with their flocks at the well until they’re all there and then take the stone from the well together. When the cattle have drunk, the stone is put back.
Jacob asks the shepherds if they know Laban. Through the affirmative answer Jacob knows that he is on the right way. Then he asks if Laban is doing well. The answer is also affirmative. At the same time, the shepherds add that they see Rachel, Laban’s daughter, coming with her flock. Rachel is a shepherdess. Then Jacob proposes that they water their cattle and that they can go. Then, as the background to his proposal seems to be, he can stay with Rachel alone. The agreement between the shepherds, however, is that they wait for each other to remove the stone together, after which they can water the sheep.
Meanwhile, Rachel has come to the well. When Jacob sees her, it gives him so much power that he takes away the stone on his own. He also makes sure that the sheep of Laban are watered. In Jacob the shepherd reveals himself. This is a sign that he is the man with whom God is going to get His way.
God goes with him, although he is not yet going with God. The school he has to go through is a school that we also have to go through. God is the God of Jacob for a very good reason. God is busy forming this Jacob. Jacob is a picture of a believer who, through the discipline of God, will increasingly respond to God’s intention with him.