The Midrash takes the biblical story of Jacob meeting Rachel at the well, and “runs with it,” insisting that the scene, with its evocative well, three (mystical number) flocks, and stone (gateway to the well) holds many symbolic allusions to future Jewish history. In particular, the water of the well is a symbol of the Holy Spirit,Ruach Ha-Kodesh, Divine Inspiration:

“And behold, a well in the field,” symbolizes Zion/Jerusalem; “And lo, three flocks of sheep,” [alludes to] the three Festivals;  “for out of that well they watered the flocks”-from there they imbibed the Holy Spirit; “And the stone. . .was great,”-this alludes to the Rejoicing of the Place of the Water Drawing [a huge celebration held each Sukkot when water was drawn to cleans the Temple altar]. R. Hoshaya said: Why was it called the rejoicing of the place of the “drawing”? Because from there they imbibed Ruach Ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit.”

Genesis Rabbah 70:8

“From there they imbibed Ruach Ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit,” could be understood to mean that those who participated in this ritual were gifted with the power of prophecy. Or it could simply mean that they drew forth holy inspiration by participating in the overwhelming joy of the festival. Consider: What are your sources of joy and inspiration? Where do you draw forth your spirit? When was the last time you drew from that well?

 

 Featured Image: The Oasis of Ein Gedi, in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea. (JHD)
Listen to a song about drawing water in joy, or return to the Gateway of Water from Underground.
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