Genesis 26 in John 4?

Whenever I read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well I always get a little bit curious about the reference to Jacob’s well. What well is it, and why does that matter to John? But I stumbled across something a little interesting the other day while reading in Genesis in the original Hebrew:

26:19 When Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well with fresh flowing water there

What is so interesting is that in the original Hebrew the word for “fresh flowing” is actually the word living. The sentence literally says “a well waters living.” And what is funny is that many commentators of John point out that Jesus use of the phrase, “living water” is also the same phrase for fresh flowing water, thus a possible reason for the Samaritan woman’s confusion. Now albeit this story is about Isaac, and yet the parallels (and reversals) are just too interesting:

In Genesis the servants go out and find the living water whereas in John it is the Samaritans and not the disciples

In Genesis Isaac quarrels with the inhabitants whereas in John Jesus actually converses and calls them to him

Both stories have a child of promise dealing with wells

Isaac goes to Beer Sheba and worships God in that place, whereas in John Jesus claims that time is coming when worshippers will worship in spirit and truth

There is the promise of descendants that was given to Abraham, but in John we see that this is truly the son of the promise

It is hard to imagine that John isn’t in some way referencing back to Isaac’s own quarrels over living waters. And by doing so, we see that Jesus reverses the division that was established long ago in Genesis.



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