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Water.  One of life’s essentials.  All life requires water to exist; humans, animals, plants.  Right after God created light for earth, He “divided the waters.”  Before He spoke forth vegetation, He prepared earth to produce by making water available.  It is vital to life that we have an ample supply of potable, pure water.


It is not by accident that God has likened the Spirit to water.  “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).  Jesus spoke of the Spirit as rivers flowing from believers.  I picture an artesian well flowing from those who believe in Him.  An artesian well flows upward and outward watering its environment bringing life.  Water makes life possible.  In the most arid places, where there is a stream of water, there is life—in the water and along its banks.  It is the Holy Spirit that draws us to Christ and brings life to all who believe.


Everywhere Abraham traveled, he built an altar and dug a well.  He dug wells to sustain life for his family, servants and livestock.  You might say that was his trademark:  “He dug wells and built altars.”  He provided for life, both physical and spiritual.  The wells were valuable assets to this man whom God had blessed and prospered with great wealth.  The altars kept him in touch with his source of spiritual life.

”And Isaac digged again the wells of water…” (Genesis 26:18).  The Philistines had stopped up the wells of Isaac’s father, Abraham.  The Philistines were jealous and fearful of Isaac, the wealthy son of Abraham.  Everything he did prospered.  Though the wells of Abraham would be beneficial to the Philistines, they didn’t want Isaac to have them; so they deprived everyone of their use by stopping them up.  They were willing to forego having them in order to deprive Isaac of the water produced by the wells.  If Satan can’t use God’s provision for his advantage, he will try to destroy it so that it can’t be used for God’s intended purposes.  This is part of the conflict between God and Satan; and we know when Satan attacks us, he is attacking God.  The Bible tells us that the battle is not ours; it is God’s.


When a famine struck, Isaac went to the land of the Philistines to escape it.  God told Isaac to dwell in Gerar, and He would bless him and renew the covenant He had made with Abraham.  The heirs of Abraham were included in the covenant.  God had already put in motion His plans to bless Isaac even in Gerar.


While living with the Philistines, Isaac began to fear for his life and depended on his own ingenuity to survive.  Isaac had a very lovely wife, and the men of the place began to take notice of her.  When they inquired about the beautiful lady, Isaac told then she was his sister (as Abraham had done in similar circumstances).  He feared they would kill him in order to have his wife.  One day the Philistine king observed behavior of Isaac and Rebekah and realized that it was not a brother and sister game they were playing.  The king confronted Isaac with his deception and he had to face his lie and the rebuke of the king.

We need divine inspiration to make the right decision.  When we take matters in our own hands, it is as if we think God isn’t capable of figuring out what to do about our situation.  Isaac could have totally trusted God with his life as well as for the protection of his wife.  He was residing where God told him to and was living under Abrahamic covenant blessings, but fear caused his faith to be flawed instead of total confidence in God.  He had to face the truth.


It is wonderful that we have a God of second chances.  When the king learned who Rebekah really was, he put out a protective order for her.  Now with that behind him, God began to bless Isaac; and he became very prosperous, so much so that the Philistines were envious of him.  The more prosperity that Isaac had, the more he needed the wells of water that his father had dug many years before.  His flocks and herds increased and water was essential for their existence.

Satan pulls out all the stops to try to thwart God’s plan in the lives of those who follow Him and are sold out to Him, but Satan couldn’t stop the growth of Isaac’s increasing wealth; because Isaac’s source was God.  Stopping up the wells was intended to halt Isaac’s prosperity.  Satan can never outdo God, but he never stops trying to stop up our wells.  God can bring prosperity on a rock if He chooses to.  He doesn’t have to have a fertile valley to pour out His blessings.  He just needs people who are willing to dig wells and keep them maintained to top efficiency.


Alas!  The wells have been stopped up!  Satan has done his dirty work and has stopped up many wells that our forefathers put great labor into for our generation and future generations of believers.  The wells we have access to came to us at great cost.  The spiritual pioneers dug diligently to produce the water we have today.  They passed on to us the rich resources that they paid a great price to acquire.  The spiritual wells that brought life to them have been passed on to us for safe keeping.  It is our heritage and our responsibility to keep the water pure and usable.  God is still looking for well diggers and keepers.  Satan cannot disable the digging tools we have to open the wells that spiritual pioneers have dug before us.  The only thing that could keep the wells from being cleaned out is the lack of diggers and their enthusiasm for digging.


We need to look at what has stopped the flow of pure water from these wells.  We need to discover what has polluted them and get a vision of what we must do to clean them out and restore the flow of pure water.  If we are to re-dig the wells, we need to know what has stopped them and what tools we need to excavate them.  Many things have contributed to the tragedy, and the original diggers would be appalled at the condition of the wells they dug.  The list would be long if we looked at every scoop of filler, but here are three to consider.


One of the fillers of our wells is apathy.  Apathy:  Emotionally detached, unmoved, not interested, indifferent.  Apathy just doesn’t care and acts as a sedative.  Spiritual sleepiness robs us of awareness.  “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).  “Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids” (6:4).  “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing…” (13:4).


God wants us to be always alert and aware of the devil’s destructive devices.  Just being passive will please Satan.  He doesn’t mind if we go to church, sing in the choir, give in the offerings and serve on committees if we will just keep ourselves aloof from intimacy with God.  Activity will salve our consciences and make us “feel good” because we are doing something.  Satan will encourage us to look at what we are doing and help us to feel proud of our activities.  God prefers “being” to doing.  If our doing is not a product of “being,” then those works will be ineffective in our personal relationship with our Heavenly father who desires our fellowship and friendship.  We can be a doer without faith, but faith is necessary to “being.”  “For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” (Acts 17:28).  Jesus told the Laodicean church He would spew them out of His mouth for their lukewarm, apathetic condition (Revelation 3:16).


If we allow apathy to stop our wells and the flow of “water,” then we are no longer productive.  We are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).  It is not a suggestion, but a requirement.  The previous verse instructs us to have understanding what the will of the Lord is and not to be wise in ourselves.  The following verses give the key to being filled with the spirit and digging out the apathy in our wells:  “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making  melody in your heart unto the lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  First it is mentioned that we encourage ourselves with His Word, rejoicing and giving thanksgiving; then that will cause an overflow to others.  Potable water must be living, flowing, giving out of itself; otherwise, it is a stagnant pool and not fit for use.  We have to approach God by faith.  “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe…” (Hebrews 11:6).  Faith is the generator that empowers the flow.  The Holy Spirit is the purifier and keeps the flow useful.


It wasn’t our sweat, prayers and tears that dug the wells that we drink from.  It wasn’t our tools that carved them out of the hard earth.  We are the beneficiaries of the good water that flows from the wells dug out by spiritual pioneers.  It was the “faith of our fathers” that untiringly kept at it until they brought forth the truths we are building upon.  Perhaps that is why we are sometimes apathetic toward protecting them.  It could be that the Lord allows the wells to be stopped so we can have some investment in their existence.  If we have to clean them out for our own benefit, we will have a greater appreciation of what we have and be more protective toward them.


“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire…” (1 Peter 1:7).  Faith is what God is looking for in us; faith that will produce works as a result and will “be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1).  Apathy has no hope.  It just doesn’t care.


So we need to clean out any apathy toward our relationship with God and any we have toward others so the fountain will be available to us with abundance to share with other thirsty souls.  Faith is the tool we need to dig again the well that has been filled with apathy; faith that honors God and exalts Jesus Christ; faith that is retroactive, considering those who were willing and able through their faith to leave us this legacy.  Faith has hope and invigorates and motivates us to do good works.  These works will come through the fire pure, lasting and established for the Kingdom of God.

We can also allow our self-sufficiency to fill our wells.  Self-sufficiency excludes all others.  The “I-did-it-myself” attitude pre-empts the body of Christ that is meant to work together with the Head to accomplish God’s will and purposes.  When God brings prosperity and great blessings, we can become so satisfied with our lives that we begin to think that we alone caused it to happen.  Remember what happened to Nebuchadnezzar when he decided that he was responsible for the greatness of Babylon:  “of my power, and the honour of my majesty” (Daniel 4:30).  “The same hour was…Nebuchadnezzar…driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heavens, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33).

His deplorable condition continued until he came to himself with understanding and “blessed the most high, and I praised and honoured him that liveth forever…At the same time my reason returned…Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven…” (Daniel 4:34, 36, 37).  He filled his well with himself!  It was not until he came to the realization that it was God who had given him the kingdom and began to praise and honor God as King of heaven that his sanity returned.

When self is king in our lives, the only kingdom we are rulers of is ourselves, and that will stop our wells.  Self-orientation makes us vulnerable for mental and emotional downfall, because we can’t self-fulfill our spiritual needs.


Herod fell prey to the same self-importance trap.  “And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.  And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost” (Acts 13:21-23).  God will not allow His glory to be given to another.  There is no limit to how much God will bless those who honor Him and walk in His ways. 

 Satan, too, thought he could rise above God and exalted himself, even influencing one-third of the angels to rebel with him.  Theirs was an eternal fall, and now Satan spends his time trying to pull others into the self-trap.


When the spirit of self becomes “obese,” it will fill up a well-dug well.  It’s the pits, when self falls into the well, polluting it, poisoning the water and making those who drink of it to also become delusional.  The only way out of a self-poisoned well, is to climb out by the rungs of humility.  Those who want to be rulers must adhere to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”  Meekness is being totally dependent on the Lord for everything, including personal exaltation and is the opposite of self-importance.  Jesus has told us in His word that we shall rule with Him, but it will be because of Him, not by our efforts that we attain that status.  If we fill our well with self, it will bury us; or we can say as Paul, “I die daily,” (to self) and experience resurrection of a well giving out living water.


Loss of quantity and quality time spent in nurturing our spiritual life is negligence.  The disciples had observed that Jesus spent much time in prayer.  They wanted to have the power and fruit in their lives that He displayed, so they asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  If we take the literal words of their request, it says, “teach us to pray” not teach us how to pray, just impress upon us how valuable prayer is and how to do so effectively.  Whichever is intended, it is very clear that Jesus put a high premium on prayer.  He prayed privately and publicly.  The communication between Him and His Father produced the results that caught the attention of the disciples.


The prayer example recorded in Luke 11 has been called “The Lord’s Prayer,” but it seems to be the disciples’ prayer instead.  The Lord’s Prayer is better found in John 17.  The kernel of that prayer was His desire that His followers would know Him as Jesus knew the Father.  What an aim!  If we could know Jesus as Jesus knew the Father, we would never fill up a well with neglect!  He wanted them to know the Father as he knew Him.  He said He had given them the words of the Father which they had received.  The desire of Jesus was that they—and we—would know the joy He had with the Father.


A beautiful and loving thought is found in verse 20:  “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”  That includes us!  The same desire Jesus had for the disciples, He has for us today—that we may be one with the Father and with the Son “that the world may believe.”

 Meditating on the Word and prayer are interlocked.  Conscientiously studying the Word will prompt us to pray; praying will prompt us to spend time in the Word.  That combination will produce a well filled with pure water that will cause life to spring up in and around us.  “He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings” (Psalm 107:35).  Conversely, neglect of the Word and prayer will stop up the well and cause it to lose its productiveness.


The obvious tool to use to clean out a well stopped up with neglect is a return to reading, studying, meditating and applying the Word and consistent fervent prayer.  “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

 When we begin to clean out the wells that have been filled with apathy, self-sufficiency, lack of the Word and prayer, we can expect to encounter discouragement.  The account of Isaac’s attempt to re-dig the wells of his father in Genesis 26 candidly recounts the hindrances he faced.  In the valley, they dug a well and found “springing” water or living water, not stagnant but flowing, a well that would be very useful and much desired.  As soon as it was flowing, the Philistines came and claimed it.  So Isaac’s servants moved on and dug another well and met the same opposition.  The Philistines claimed it.  They moved on to another site and dug again.  Finally, they were able to use that one.


We should not become overwhelmed with discouragement when someone takes our well that we have diligently dug or restored.  We can apply the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  It took the third effort of Isaac’s servants to be able to use a well that they brought to life.  Verse 45 tells us that attitude will show that we are “children of your Father.”


The lesson we can learn is to not become discouraged, be diligent, do good and move on if you must, but keep on loving and praying for those who are trying to bring discouragement.  We may have to dig many wells which others may receive the benefit of, but we are not to stop digging.  We are to continue cleaning out the wells of the past that have blessed many generations and not be timid about digging new wells for future believers to enjoy.

 We need to keep our tools cleaned, sharpened and ready to use when needed.  Be ready at all times with faith, humility, prayer and the Word to not only dig out the wells but keep them flowing with life-giving, life-sustaining pure water to use and to share.

Points to Ponder

Digging Deeper


  • Express appreciation to pioneers who journeyed into uncharted territory and dug wells in deserts in past generations.


  • Surface water isn’t safe to drink.  Wells have to be dug into hard earth and chiseled out of rock formations to be potable for humans.  Spiritual truths don’t just float out of the Word into consciousness.  We must study, meditate and apply the Truths found in God’s Word.


  • Water is essential to all life.  We can’t have God’s life without His Spirit flowing in us.  Then He wants us to become “streams in the desert” flowing outward to the thirsty.


  • “I was a tired nut in a paper bag until Jesus cracked my shell, salted me and tossed me out to the world to make it thirsty for Him.”  (I gleaned this from a Billy Graham advance team meeting for counselors for one of his films.)


  • Digging a well is building an altar.  It takes time to find the water, and we have to spend time with God to find His water and keep it flowing.


  • Our wells have to be tended.  They must be capped and piped to receive the benefit.  We can’t leave them unattended or Satan will fill them with his junk and make the water polluted and unusable.


  • During times of drought a well can keep life going.  There is a worldwide famine for the Word of God.  We can keep it from dying from thirst by maintaining our wells and sharing the “Water.”


  • God is a “second-chance” God.  If Satan fills our wells and stops our water, we can dig them again and again and again.  Each well he stops can be cleaned out and made useful. 


  • Prevention and proper maintenance is the best way to have pure water.  Stay alert and attentive to rocks, dirt and garbage that can slip into our wells.  It is better to be diligent and protect them than it is to have to dig them again.


  • Prevention consists of quantity and quality time spent with God in prayer and in His Word.  A well without water is of no use.  Peter spoke of wells without water, clouds carried about but not giving rain (2 Peter 2:17).

Be a well; produce pure, sweet water for the Master.  Keep a bucket handy to share it with everyone who comes by thirsty.

It is astonishing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.
















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