The lesson of the wells

Digging wells is a mirror image of uncovering G-d within our physical reality. Op-ed.

Rabbi Moshe Kempinski ,

Moshe Kempinski
Moshe Kempinski

In this part of the world in days gone by wells and springs of life saving waters were critical for survival.They remain critical to this day.

When you dig up a well and find pure water it is a time of joy. That is true of the water we drink and is also true of the spiritual living waters that sustain us.”Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of redemption”. Isaiah 12:3

As a result ,the verses in this week’s Torah portion of Toldot are surprising.

To dig a well necessitates a faith that lifesaving waters will be found waiting.

To dig a well is about releasing that life saving fluid into the world by removing all the obstacles .It is also about believing that no obstacle is too great.

Digging wells is a mirror image of uncovering G-d within our physical reality.

Yet there will always be those that will find those discoveries threatening and will do everything to cover them up.

Those are the troublesome verses in the Torah portion.

And the man ( Yitzchak) became great, and he grew constantly greater until he had grown very great. And he had possessions of sheep and possessions of cattle and much production, and the Philistines envied him .And all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the days of Avraham his father the Philistines stopped them up and filled them with earth.” ( Genesis 26:13-15)


I could understand taking control over the wells out of envy and greed.

Yet here we find a hatred that is probably fueled by a deep spiritual fear that led these Philistines to stop up the wells that would give even them life saving water.

Clearly the ancient equivalent of modern day suicide bombers.

Destroying for the sake of your belief becomes more important than living for it.

What we see in the physical will always be reflected in the spiritual.

They have forsaken Me,the fountain of living waters,to hew for themselves cisterns. Broken cisternsThat can hold no water.(Jeremiah 2:13)

Yet Isaac never stopped digging.

Neither can we.

Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved Vekol Hacholim

Rabbi Moshe Kempinski, author of "The Teacher and the Preacher", is the editor of the Jerusalem Insights weekly email journal and co-owner of Shorashim, a Biblical shop and learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem, www,