Symbolization: The Shepherd Waters His Flock

Original Entry Date 10/4/2014: All throughout the Old Testament you will find bits and pieces of detail that point to what was to come, Jesus Christ, and what is STILL to come, the Great Tribulation.
Even from the very beginning of Genesis, we see details that foreshadow such. As we are reading God’s Word, these types of hidden gems suddenly *POP* out and, in my experience, leave me in a state of awe and I get really excited. I get excited because I know that *POP* is the Holy Spirit revealing it to me and that always makes me feel special.

Let’s look in the book of Genesis and read a small portion of scripture about Jacob. Jacob is a type of Christ. As you may recall from an earlier post of mine that a Type of Christ is literally a person or an event that occurs in the Old Testament that foreshadows Christ, Himself, and His character or a foreshadowing of something Christ would literally do.
While reading, take note of the intricate details that point to Jesus as well as a foreshadowing of the Church age.

**At this point in scripture, Jacob was on a journey to Padam Aran, in search of his relative, Laban. He went on this journey to find a wife amongst his own people rather than marrying a foreign woman. (The spiritual meaning behind this that relates to us today is the importance of marrying someone who is also a follower of Jesus. His own people, meaning Christians, and foreigners, meaning those who do not follow or believe in Christ. Why is that important? Well think about it, we are to worship God, and God alone. Marrying someone who has a different belief system can cause our hearts to stray away from God. This happened to the wisest men, like Solomon, for example.)

Genesis 29:1-10 NIV

Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?”
“We’re from Harran,” they replied.
He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
“Yes, we know him,” they answered.
Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?”
“Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
“Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.”
“We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.”
While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep.

God loves speaking to us through numbers. When I read the number three in the Word, the first thing that comes to mind is the Holy Trinity: God, the Father, Jesus, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all three are one. That’s always been something that’s a bit difficult to comprehend BUT not when you think of it from a Biblical standpoint.
In Genesis 1:27 we read that God made man in His own image. God is three parts and at the same time God is One. Man is three parts: Spirit (that which connects with God), Soul (our personality) and Body (Our physical self):

Man is made of three parts.

See the similarity there? It makes it a bit easier to comprehend the Three Part Godhead. The number three typically symbolizes: Divine Fruitfullness or Fullness, the power to create and reproduce as well as completion.

Back to the segment of scripture, we read in verse 2, notice how Jacob comes to a well and there are three flocks of sheep laying near it. The sheep are waiting to be given water to drink from the well. As you may remember from previous posts that the well is a source of water, and spiritually it represents the Living Water that comes from one source, Jesus Christ!

John 4:7-14 NIV:

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 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.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 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?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.”

The sheep in verse 2 are a representation of those who are of the Body of Christ (read the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 beginning in verse 31). Three flocks speaks of the fulfillment that Christ would bring to God’s plan of salvation.
We then read about a large stone being on top of the well, which is interesting in a few ways but let me point out two. One, being the word used for “stone” is the Hebrew word, “eben” which was used to describe the stone tablets that the 10 Commandments/Law were inscribed on. Secondly, the large stone would have to be “rolled away from the mouth of the well” for the flocks to be given a drink. In other words, the Law would have to be removed before the Living Water of eternal life could be accessed.
This is depicted in the stone being rolled away from the wells mouth….just as the stone was rolled away from the grave and Jesus brought fulfillment to God’s plan for salvation.
Wow! You know, this is such a spiritually rich piece of scripture! There is more than I could possibly write in this one post, honestly. For example, the stone being rolled away also represents our hearts and the veil being removed…anyhow, let’s save that for a future post.

The final thing I will point out to you are the shepherds. They are a depiction of those who are leaders of the church in this age, those commanded to shepherd God’s people. As pointed out in the beginning of this post, Jacob being a type of Christ, is the one who rolls the stone from the mouth of the well so the shepherds could water the flock. Access to the Living Water of eternal life is done only through what Christ Jesus has done for us.
(**note: read verse 8 and think of how it relates to the end of the age.)

The leaders of the church are the shepherds but Christ Jesus is the Cheif Shepherd.

1 Peter 5:2-4 NIV

 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

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