In Genesis we discover a battle for water that is connected to wells. The first instance happens in Genesis 21.
25 Then Abraham rebuked Abimelech because of a well of water which Abimelech’s servants had seized. Genesis 21:25 (NKJV)
In this case Abraham had dug the well and others tried to take it. We see the same issue, a contention over water being played out in the life of Isaac.
17 Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them. 19 Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah. 22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” 23 Then he went up from there to Beersheba. 24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” 25 So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well. Genesis 26:17-25 (NKJV)
In the passage above Isaac had to again dig the wells of Abraham because the enemy had filled them with dirt and debris. A message here is that we cannot subsist on the water of our parents. They may have provided something for us but we need to clean it off and engage with it, we need to dig down and keep the well unstopped. Another point is that there is a battle for our well. The word Esek means ‘quarrel’ and the word Sitnah means ‘enmity.” Accessing water is a battle and we must value this water enough to contend for it!
The last point in the passage above is that there is a connection between worship (the altar) and digging wells. It is presented so casually it is easy to miss, build an altar, dig a well. There is no contention mentioned. In fact as the chapter continues later on we find his enemies recognizing God’s favour on Isaac and coming and making a covenant with him and committing to not offend against him. Then what happens?
32 It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” Genesis 26:32 (NKJV)
We see from Jesus that the well represents drawing on the water of the Spirit. Jesus ideal is that living water will flow out from our hearts.
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 (NKJV)
The order Jesus gives us is that we come to Him and drink and then the water flows out from us. Or as Isaiah put it.
3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:3 (NKJV)
In summary, when we were born again a well of living water was established in our spirit. To walk as Jesus desires we need to continually draw on this well. The enemy knows this and contends with us for it and seeks to plug it up through things like anger, bitterness and unforgiveness – the quarreling and enmity Isaac experienced. We keep the water flowing by guarding our hearts and walking in love and forgiveness. We like Isaac need to establish an altar of worship that releases this living water to those around us.
My own experience and that of many others is that we keep the well flowing through sitting with Him, drawing on His word and engaging our heart in worship. So let’s contend for the flow of living water by establishing a lifestyle of being in the word, communion and worship.