Jacob’s Journey Ends
Genesis 29:1-14; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 188
Being kind at home helps us learn how to serve others.
“We show that we are servants of God . . . by our kindness” (2 Corinthians 6:6, ICB).
Think of a time someone in your family helped you without being asked. What did they do for you? Did their kindness surprise you? Our story this week reminds us of something important: we learn how to serve others by being kind at home.
It was morning, and Jacob woke up to continue on his long journey to Haran. He had left his home because his brother was very angry with him. Jacob had tricked his father and had gotten a special blessing that should have gone to his brother. Because of this, his mom thought it was a good idea for him to go and stay with her brother Laban for a while. She also hoped that Jacob would find a wife there.
The night before, while he had slept with a stone for his pillow, he had had a dream. He had dreamed that he had seen a ladder and angels going up and down on the ladder. Then God had spoken to him and had promised to be with him. Jacob worshipped God when he woke up and had promised that God would be his God. Now he was ready to continue on his journey.
It was a long journey, about 450 miles altogether. It would take many weeks of walking. Finally, after many days and nights of traveling, Jacob neared the city of Haran. He hoped to find his mother’s family there. His journey was almost over, and he was glad.
On the outskirts of Haran, Jacob saw a well. It was about noon, and three flocks of sheep were gathered there. Why are these flocks at the well in the middle of the day? he wondered. This well was different from those near Jacob’s home. He saw that a huge stone covered the well’s opening. There were no troughs from which the sheep could drink. Jacob approached the well and spoke to the shepherds gathered there.
“My brothers, where are you from?” he asked.
“We come from Haran,” one shepherd replied.
“Do you know a man named Laban who lives there?” Jacob questioned.
“Yes, we know him,” the shepherds answered.
Then Jacob asked, “Is he well?”
“Yes, he is,” replied one of the shepherds. “In fact, here comes his daughter, Rachel, with some of his sheep. She is a shepherdess.” The man pointed to a young woman coming toward them. Jacob looked and saw Rachel coming to the well. She was leading a flock of sheep, but was still some distance away.
Jacob continued talking with the shepherds. “Tell me, why don’t you water your sheep and take them back to pasture?” he asked. “There is still a lot of daylight left.”
“We can’t,” they replied. “It’s our custom to wait until all of the flocks are gathered. When all are here, we remove the big stone from the well. Then all the animals drink, and we cover the well again.”
While Jacob and the shepherds talked together, Rachel and her sheep arrived. Jacob went over to the well. He kindly rolled the heavy stone away from the opening. Then he led his uncle Laban’s sheep to the water and cared for them.
He spoke kindly to Rachel. “I am Jacob, and I am one of your relatives. I’ve come a long way to meet your family! Your father’s sister Rebekah is my mother.” He was so glad to finally meet a relative that he began to cry! His long journey was over. He was with family again.
“Please, wait right here!” Rachel exclaimed. “I want to let my father know that you are here.” Then she turned quickly and ran toward home.
An excited Rachel told her father about Jacob. Laban was amazed that Jacob had come so far. He hurried back to the well with her. “How wonderful to meet you, Jacob!” he exclaimed. He hugged his nephew and kissed his cheeks (that was their custom). “We’re so glad you’re here! Come, let’s go home so we can visit!”
Laban led the way. Soon they reached Laban’s home. There Jacob told his uncle about the family he had left behind. He talked about his mother, Rebekah, and how she had sent Jacob to Laban. And Uncle Laban welcomed his nephew Jacob into his home. Soon Jacob became a part of Laban’s family.
Yes, Jacob helped Rachel by removing the heavy stone from the well. And he helped her by watering the sheep. No one had to ask him to help. He showed courtesy and kindness to Rachel. Can you help others without being asked? By being kind to your own family, you learn to serve others. What will you do to serve others this week?