“Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.” Genesis 26:18
Isaac maintains patriarchal blessings through historical continuity; first by remaining in the land his father dwelt in before him, and second, by reopening the wells Abraham had dug. Isaac also demonstrates his respect for his father by keeping the original names for the wells. There’s spiritual significance to digging out his father’s wells. Water is a necessity especially in the dry lands where Isaac set up camp. Isaac locates, reactivates, and begins drinking water from the same wells that kept his father Abraham alive in his own day.
“There is a powerful lesson to be learned in drinking water from the same wells of salvation as our fathers in the faith.” Never underestimate the power of historical continuity. The full blessings of our fathers in the faith will only flow to those of us who will respect our spiritual heritage, emulate the obedience of those who faithfully served before us, by drinking the same water from the same wells of salvation.
The Blessings Are Intergenerational!
Keep in mind that Isaac stays in Gerar in obedience to God’s directions. He’s reminded that he’s an heir to the promise of Abraham and is experiencing the blessings and the privileges of God’s presence because of his father’s obedience to God (Genesis 26:2-6). As the redemptive narrative unfolds throughout the scriptures (both Old and New Testaments), you will see references to Abraham’s faith and obedience from Genesis chapters 12 through 22. Just as the blessings and anointing of God within a family was to be passed down from one generation to another; the same is true in the community setting of God’s family of Families the Church.
In the families, it was important for the father to entrust the family legacy to the eldest son. That son was raised up to assume that responsibility at the proper time. Senior leaders in the Church must pass down the rich blessings they’ve inherited to trustworthy elders who can assume the responsibility of safe guarding the anointing and the teaching they received for the next generation also (see 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, 2 Timothy 2:1-2 and Jude 3). Following the examples and patterns the previous generations have handed down to us, insures the integrity of the doctrines that have been handed down to us.
We must be drinking the same living water from the same wells of salvation as the biblical writers. We must also be careful to follow their example of receiving wisdom, knowledge and detailed instructions to continue building what God is building. Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”
Types and Symbols
Types and Symbols carry powerful truths of vital importance. In every case they are used By God to communicate prophetically to and through His people to advance His global strategy of world redemption. We will look at two, and in each case though used differently at times, they never break with the divine protocol of “on earth as it is in heaven” or “according to the pattern.”
Water: Throughout the Scriptures water is used many times as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit and His ministry. We see prophetic words and visions describing rivers, rain, outpouring, wells, and springs, all pointing to the work of the Spirit. Any honest assessment of the Scriptures will show an explosion of Apostolic and Prophetic power with the advent of Jesus Christ. This power increased exponentially with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Our fathers in the faith were all Spirit filled, Spirit empowered, and Spirit directed in keeping the Great Commission. It was by these powerful rivers of living water flowing from within them; that the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and teachers gave birth to the spontaneous expansion of the Church, thus advancing God’s Kingdom with astounding demonstrations of power.
From the Old Testament shadows to the New Testament realities, we were all meant to draw living water from the same wells of salvation. Note: Isaiah 12:3-4 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted,” and Isaiah 41:18 “I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.”
Passages such as these as well as others did not escape the notice of the apostle Paul; as we see in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Paul wanted the Church to understand that what the Old Testament fathers had in type, the Church has been given the fulfillment!
We’re Drinking Living Water!
John 4:10-14 “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
We Become Wells and Springs of Living water!
John 7:37-38 “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Buildings: From the building of the Tabernacle to the building of the Church, God’s leaders were to build it on earth as it is in heaven.
Note Hebrews 8:5; They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Paul was entrusted with these truths and was a wise strategist in unfolding the revelation as he was used to build the Church “according to the pattern” that was given to him. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Paul is preserving historical continuity by warning the laborers to build carefully, and be sure to lay the right foundation. The Holy Spirit has been given to guide us in building the Church on earth according to the pattern in heaven.
From the Patriarchs to the Prophets, to the New Testament Apostles and Prophets, God has always led His people and communicated through dialogue, miracles, signs and wonders. To advance the redemption story and do church any other way than the way, other than as it has been handed down to us in the scriptures would be irresponsible, and a departure from the pattern given to our fathers in the faith.
“An apostolic anointing brings Biblical blueprints for spontaneous Kingdom expansion, while a prophetic anointing brings a plumb-line for keeping the work of Kingdom expansion true to the Biblical blueprints.” – JSP
God Has Always Demonstrated the Miraculous Within and Through His People
We have been left with an overwhelmingly large volume of documentation from the first century to the present day, attesting to the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit of proclaiming the gospel with miraculous signs and wonders following. Apostolic and Prophetic ministry has continued to be a powerful force to be reckoned with in the local Church and on the mission field throughout the world. There have never been any recorded instances throughout history of these gifts of the Spirit ever ceasing to exist.
Here some excerpts from the historical record, of wise builders who were building from the same blueprints, drinking from the same wells of salvation as our fathers in the faith. Notice how they were all seeing and experiencing the same things that Christ and his apostles had.
100 – 200 A.D. “Many healed of demon afflicted disorders thereby became believers…that through the laying on of hands maladies were healed.” – Irenaeus
300 – 400 A.D. Commenting on John 14:12 Chrysostom wrote: “Throughout our whole habitable world there is not a country or a nation or a city where these wonders are not commonly spoken of.”
Augustine: “What am I to do? I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work that I cannot record all the miracles I know…”
1500 A.D. Martin Luther: “How often has it happened and still does that devils have been driven out in the name of Christ: Also by calling in his name in prayer, the sick have been healed.”
1739 A.D. John Wesley on January 1, 1739, was with his brother Charles, George Whitefield and Benjamin Ingham attending a love feast held at Fetter Lane in London, with about 60 people in attendance. John recorded the following occurrence in his Journal. “At about three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy and many fell down to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of His majesty, we broke out with one voice, ‘We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.’”
Late 1800’s early 1900’s Maria Woodworth-Etter (from her Diary of Signs and Wonders) “One afternoon such conviction fell on the sinners that many ran to the platform and were saved at once. It was a scene seldom, if ever, witnessed anywhere. There were times that the big tent resembled a battlefield on account of the many that were slain by the power of God. At times the power fell like rain, and the heavenly anthems filled the atmosphere.”
Thousands were saved, many being struck down laying as dead men even on their way home. It is also said that many fell under the power in their homes, many miles from the meetings.
Doctors, lawyers, drunkards and adulterers – people from all walks of life were gloriously saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in her meetings. Because of one of her meetings in 1885, the police said they have never seen such a change in their city. The city had been so cleaned up that they had nothing to do!”
These manifestations of revelation and power are imparted by God supernaturally. They reveal the mind of God at that moment to us. The Spirit will impart the ability to receive from God wisdom, knowledge, and discernment about anything as He deems necessary at the time. Keep in mind that these are supernatural occurrences, and are humanly impossible without the Holy Spirit. This is the only way that insures that it is Christ building His Church. Matthew 16:17-18 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The Evidence is Overwhelming
I could easily record hundreds of pages from the diaries and journals of God’s people that personally witnessed the same miracles signs and wonders as the writers of both Old and New Testaments had. They all received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they all witnessed to the facts of redemption just as the original apostles had. They all record receiving similar guidance by either visions, dreams, or simple dialogue with God revealing detailed instructions to them in prayer.
Taking the position of a cessationist viewpoint can only contribute to stopping up the wells of our fathers in the faith, using the soil of a hopelessly flawed theology that has never been verified by any thoroughly intelligent, unbiased study of the Scriptures, nor has ever been substantiated by any accurate record of history.” Many reject the truth that God still speaks and works through His people just as He did in the Scriptures. The neglect of the Spirit’s power by those who follow such a teaching is a departure from the biblical redemptive narrative. The Prophets of old had to deal with the same issues in their days: Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own wells, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Note: there have always been those who were building and drinking from different wells).
The Church’s Responsibility in this Regard is Twofold:
First, the Church must continue its current commitment to reopening the floodgates of Rivers of Living Water, following in the way of Christ and His apostles. I am of course referring to the continual outpourings and fillings of the Holy Spirit which the New Testament encourages the Church to do as a lifestyle.
Second, the Church must continue its present course of unstopping the Apostolic and Prophetic Wells of our fathers; whenever it’s discovered that they’ve been clogged with faulty theological soil. The Church has been built upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets. The gospel message is best demonstrated through continued respect for the equipping ministry functions of Ephesians 4:11-16; which enables all believers to be empowered for service to one another and to the world at large. May we continue to reopen the wells of our fathers in the faith so another generation may proclaim Christ to the world in the power of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.
John S. Picarello has been empowering people from a Kingdom perspective for more than 30 years. He is passionate about living with purpose and leading from the heart. He is a family man, a retired firefighter, a lead pastor for more than 20 years, and the Lead Pastor of House on the Rock Christian Fellowship located in Staten Island, NY, with experience in business management and leadership development. He is an independent certified coach, teacher, and speaker with The John Maxwell Team. He is energized by seeing people realize their potential, develop their leadership skills, and begin empowering others.