Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Origen; Ronald E. Heine | Go to book overview

HOMILY XIII
On the wells which Isaac dug and which were filled by the Philistines

WE ARE ALWAYS ENCOUNTERING THE HABITUAL WORKS of the patriarchs regarding wells. For behold the Scripture relates that Isaac, after "the Lord blessed him and he was greatly magnified,"1 undertook a great work. And he began, the text says, to dig wells, "wells which his servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, but the Philistines had stopped them up and filled them with earth."2 First, therefore, "he dwelt at the well of vision,"3 and having been illuminated by the well of vision, he undertakes to open other wells, and not first new wells, but those which his father Abraham had dug.

And when he had dug the first well, "the Philistines," the text says, "were envious of him."4 But he was not deterred by their envy nor did he yield to their jealousy, but the text says, "he again dug the wells which the servants of his father Abraham had dug and the Philistines had stopped up after the death of his father Abraham; and he gave them names in accordance with the names which his father had given them."5 He dug therefore, those wells which his father had dug and which had been filled with earth by the malice of the Philistines. He dug also other new wells "in the valley of Gerara," not indeed himself, but his servants, "and he found there," the text says, "a well of living water. But the shepherds of Gerara quarreled with Isaac's shepherds saying the water was theirs. And he called the name of the well Injustice. For they dealt

____________________
1
Cf. Gn 26.12-13.
2
Gn 26.15.
3
Gn 26.11.
4
Gn 26.14.
5
Gn 26.18.

-185-

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