“Even before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her neck! She went down to the spring and began to draw water. So I said to her, ‘Please provide for me a drink.’ She quickly let down her jar and said, ‘Drink and I will also provide a drink for your camels.’”
On one level, it might be tempting to dismiss this section of the story as redundant and skip to the end. And if we were to do that, we would miss an important element of Hebrew narrative, and that is repetition. The repetition is there to reinforce the account in a culture where many of these stories would have been passed down in oral form, but there is still more to the picture that we should note. This historical account has been preserved by God in his scriptures for our benefit. It is here not to make us groan at the repetition, but it is designed to help us see the intimate nature of a God who takes such interest in even the smallest aspects of our lives that he would record the event of Eliezer’s meeting Rebekah over and over again. Our testimonies are not only important to our witness, but they are important to God himself. He loves our testimonies so deeply and so dearly because our testimonies are part of God’s work of redemption in the life of his people.
How we should too be fond of retelling of the goodness of God to us through the years and how quick we ought to be to retell it. How often, though, we fail to mention these stories even to our children and then we wonder why our children often walk away from the church and any meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. When we ignore the hand of God’s providence in our own stories and when we fail to share those stories (repeatedly) with the next generation, the faith of the people grows shallow and often becomes little more than lip service. Yet, when we tell the story of Jesus’ work in our lives to our children and to our grandchildren — over and over — then the faith we will see around us will grow deep and it will be vibrant. Which do you prefer?
So the next time you are reading in the Bible and run across repetition or a long list of genealogies or a list of who gave what toward the building of the temple, don’t just skim over that. Instead, look to the text as God might look to the text — with great pleasure at the faithfulness of his people. Then look to your own life and ask yourself how you are living and whether God and the future generations would view your life in the same way. Beloved, tell the story of Jesus and do not relegate it to a series of events that took place two thousand years ago, but remember to tell it as one who is part of the greater story of God’s redemption. May such stories never grow old no matter how often we hear or read of God’s hand at work.