a. The Journey’s End 1-3. In verse 1, we find our author Moses fast-forwarding the rest of Jacob’s journey. We don’t know what happened from Bethel to Haran but we know that his experience in Bethel was to encourage him and to reinforce to him that God was with him. God promised not to leave him. Bethel was a pivot from receiving the blessing by deceit to a new chapter in his life. Now, think back to the story of Abraham’s servant being sent to Haran to find Isaac’s wife and you will find some similarities here. Where did the servant go when he first arrived at Haran? He went to the well. Where is Jacob? He is at a well. Now the Bible gives us some details about the scene. First, there are three flocks with their shepherds at the well already. This is the well that these sheep were watered so this was a communal well that at least four households shared. Over the well, there was a large stone that the shepherds would roll back and forth when they needed access to it. This could serve several different purposes the least of which was to keep the sheep from falling in. With the scene set, Jacob walks up to the group of shepherd boys. b. Meeting the Shepherds 4-8. Jacob greets the shepherds calling them “my brothers” and asks them where they are from.” And they respond, “We are from Haran.” At this point, Jacob knows that he is in the right place. Then he asks the shepherds, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” The shepherds say, “We know him.” Now that Jacob knows that they know Laban he begins to elicit some information on him. So he asks, “Is it well with him?” Their response is, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” Jacob is at the right place and at the right time. Just like his grandfather’s servant who showed up at the well at the right time to meet Rebekah, he has shown up at the right time to meet Rachel. It makes you wonder if these similarities did not go unnoticed by Jacob. Doubtless, he heard the story of how his mother met the servant at the well. Jacob then tells the shepherds that it is still high day and the sheep should still be pastured and not gathered together. He tells them the water the sheep and then set them to pasture. Why does Jacob tell them this? They are shepherds and presumably know what they are doing. There are many speculations as to what he is thinking but it seems that Jacob wants to get rid of the other shepherds. But they turn and say, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.” Again we are not told why they had to wait for all the shepherds to arrive before they opened the well. Some suggest that they were shepherd boys and needed all of them there to move the stone. Others suggest that it was their custom to wait for everyone and they were not prepared to forgo their custom according to the word of this stranger. At any rate, they refused, and nothing happened. Before we move on to look at the interaction between Jacob and Rachel, let us consider the comfort of Divine Providence. c. The Comfort of Divine Providence. At this point, Jacob is a weak follower of God but he would have to be completely lost to miss the hand of God in the events that are unfolding before him. The question for you is, do you take comfort in the providence of God? If not, are you even aware of God’s providence? Thomas Guthrie said, “Believer, what are you doing, going groaning through the world beneath a load of fears and cares? What should discourage you? What should disturb your peace? What can ruffle the calm spirit of a man who knows that the hands which were once nailed to the tree for him, now hold the helm of his destiny? The blessed Savior, who by love’s golden scepter reigns within his heart, holds sovereign sway over earth and Heaven; and by both bitter and sweet providences, by both coffins and cradles, by both disappointments and joys, by both losses and gains, shall cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.”