Jacob said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Genesis 29:7-9
Jacob has left his hometown to return to his grandfather’s home in Harran. Rebekah convinces Isaac to send Jacob away in order for Jacob to find a wife with a similar faith background. Marrying someone that has the same spiritual belief is such an important concept to guide you when seeking a spouse. Another reason to send Jacob away is so that he is not murdered by his brother Esau. The deceit, craftiness, and stealing of the birthright and blessing has torn this family apart further. So Jacob travels.
When he sees these shepherds he realizes that he is nearly to his destination. When they say Rachel, a young woman is coming soon to water her sheep, perhaps his mind begins to race. He has not seen her before. In fact, is it possible that when she emerges from the distance and he sees her that there is a “love at first sight” that is ignited? Possibly.
The shepherds were waiting for a few others to show up before the removed the lid from the top of the well. I have been around several open wells like this in farm settings. When they are fenced off or covered over it is generally for safety. Children and stray animals could fall in an be injured or die, so the liability is decreased by putting a lid or covering over the well. These men did not want to lift more than “their fair share” or they were waiting for someone with initiative to give directions to lift the lid. Yes, many hands make light work.
In this first encounter with Rachel, Jacob walks right over and takes the lid off all by himself. He is attempting to make a good first impression. I’m sure he impressed the shepherds and others standing around. It seems that Rachel is also impressed by Jacob for several reasons. From Jacob in this story, we can learn several good qualities that are attractive to others and that will impress them.
Keep in mind that we do not have a goal of impressing people for our own sake. The impression that we give to others really can impact what another person will think about our God. If we are selfish, demanding and arrogant and offer and impression of “holier than thou” – then we are giving a bad impression of God to others.
Impression Avenues include the following:
- Serving Others. Jacob immediately serves Rachel by drawing water up and watering the sheep that she had with her. He does not act with any self serving interest. In fact, Jacob goes on to marry Rachel. He works for seven years time. During those seven years of work, he knows he will marry her, and yet he does not take what does not belong to him. He does not act selfishly and have pre-marital sex. He is demonstrating a selfless love with his service and devotion. Laban deceives him, he marries Leah, the sister and then commits to work another 7 years for Rachel. That is a selfless devotion of serving others!
- Sharing with Others. As the narrative continues we find that Jacob has a good work ethic. He works for a month with no pay for Rachel’s father, Laban. He works a total of seven years in order to marry the love of his life, Rachel.
- Showing Up. Jacob has a “Can Do” attitude. When the men said: “We can’t water the sheep until…” Jacob sees no reason to not water them. He does not wait for others to get the lid off. When others said” “We can’t” – he said” “I can.”
You can give first impressions that impress too! When we show consideration to others first, everyone is impressed and God is glorified in and through your life.