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Genesis 29:7

Genesis 29:7
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Genesis 29:7, “‘Water the sheep and go, pasture them.’ But they said, ‘We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

What first caught my attention here was the repetition of “rolling away the stone” language (29:3, 8, 10). This is the only place in the entire OT where these two words—at least in the LXX—are combined. What’s interesting about that is that these two words are combined only 4 times in the New Testament, and every instance concerns the “rolling away” of the stone over Christ’s tomb (Matthew 28:2; Mark 16:3,4; Luke 24:2). Very intriguing.

We know that the NT authors knew their OT and that they were very intentional about the crafting of the gospels. What’s more, in the Jewish hermeneutical tradition of “gezera sava,” passages containing the same distinctive words were legitimately read together and understood to cast interpretive light on one another. With these factors in mind, I think it is at least interesting—and perhaps significant—to note that the only combination of these two words happens in Genesis 29 and at the resurrection of Christ.

So, the shared language catches the attention, but is there anything of substance to see when reading the two passages in light of one another? I think there might be. Notice what the shepherds say to Jacob:

“We cannot [water and feed the sheep] until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

Is it not also true that the people of YHWH’s pasture—the sheep of His hand (Psalm 95:7)—cannot be truly fed and watered until all the flocks are gathered into one (Through the effects of the cross, John 10:16; 11:51-52) and the stone is rolled away from the tomb of the Good Shepherd so that the well of living water might pour out and water His own (John 4:14, 7:37-39)?

If this is a legitimate connection, its beautiful to see that the gospel hint at the concept of Jesus’ empty tomb being the well from which His people are watered.

Because He died and rose again, we can come and drink from the water of life without payment and pasture in the country of our Lord (Rev.21:6, 22:1,4). The stone has been rolled away from the wellspring of Christ’s tomb and the waters of life are flowing freely…..may all the sheep be gathered together to drink from this true water!