Summary: At times in our lives we are asked to go the second mile. Our Chrisitan witness depends on what we do.
First Baptist Church
Rev. Michael Deutsch
September 2, 2001
Has anyone ever done something for you that was totally above and beyond the call of duty? Has anyone surprised you with random acts of kindness that you felt you did not deserve?
I want to tell you about a woman who went far and above beyond the call of duty. Her name was Rebekah, the women who was to become the wife of Isaac. Let me remind you of her story. Abraham was getting very old, Sarah had died and Isaac was about 40 years old. In those days, the father did the match making and it was probably over due that arrangements had to be made for Isaac to get married. I wonder how many of us would have ended up with the same spouse if it were up to our parents to make the arrangements. Hey kids, how many of you really want mom or dad to make your selection for a husband or wife?
Abraham didn’t even do the job himself. He sent out his chief servant, Eliezer to do the job. Abraham made Eliezer take an oath that he wouldn’t get a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites, who didn’t believe as the Jews did. Instead, Eliezer was to travel to Abraham’s home, and find a wife from Abraham’s own people.
So, Eliezer sets off on his journey, it was a pretty good sized caravan, as he took 10 camels, which were loaded with valuable gifts. Eliezer had a difficult job. He had to convince a young woman to leave her homeland, her family, friends, travel a great distance to marry a man she hasn’t met. The odds seemed stacked against him
Abraham came from Haran and if the town of Nahor is in the same vicinity, then Eliezer and his caravan of camels would have traveled 435 miles. A camel can average 25 miles per day, so it would have been a 17 day one way journey. I don’t know how many times Eliezer prayed to find a bride for Isaac, but we get to listen in on his prayer in Nahor. He prayed that when he asked one of the women for a drink of water, she would do more than expected, she would ‘water the camels also.’ He prayed that this women, would be the one whom God is choosing for Isaac.
According to middle eastern hospitality, if you asked someone for a drink of water, they would certainly give it to you, but probably not to your camels. As Eliezer finished praying, Rebekah walked toward the well to put water in her jar. After filling her jar with water, Eliezer hurried to meet her and asked for a drink. Rebekah said, "Drink, my lord," and she lowered the jar to give him a drink. After giving him a drink, she added, "I’ll draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking." So she ran back to the well to draw more water and drew enough for all his camels.
Notice what verse 21 says about Eliezer, "he gazed at her in silence. . ." Why? Because he was astounded that she was willing to go way above and beyond what was expected. You may say, I would have given the man and his camels some water. But for you, it may be a matter of turning on a faucet. She had to get her water out of a well. Did you know a thirsty camel will drink between 20 and 30 gallons of water . . . each. Rebekah came to the well in the cool of the evening when all the other women were coming. She would have to take her turn getting water from the well. Serving water to 10 thirsty camels who drink 20 to 30 gallons of water in 10 minutes means that it probably took her how long to satisfy the camels? Any math majors? 1½ to 2 hours to fill up these animals.
Rebekah committed herself for almost two hours to a perfect stranger. She did far more than he had asked of her. Now at best, some of us might have said hello to the man. We might have given the Ashland wave as we walked by. A few of us might have offered him a drink of water. Even fewer of us would have told him he could borrow our bucket to get some water, but how many of us would have committed 2 hours at the end of a long day to someone we don’t know and may never see again?
It’s usually not our goal to do more and get nothing for it. Many people will do the least amount of work possible, hoping and even expecting to receive the maximum benefit possible. It is the belief that we can do the least amount of work in order to get by.