The Negev’s Sde Boker—The Lord Has Made Room for Us

It takes great vision to see something where there is nothing.

Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, saw the vast expanse of Israel’s Negev as something that offered great potential. In 1953, he settled in the kibbutz Sde Boker, urging Israelis to help him tame the Negev into a new society for Israel.

The Negev—At Last, the Lord Has Made Room for Us

(Photo: Sculpture garden at Sde Boker, by שי קסל CC-BY-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

To many, the idea seemed no more than a pipe dream. As a result, the plea fell on deaf ears, for the arid region receives barely eight inches of rain per year.

In the Negev, life has one uncompromising requirement: water. 

Through this simple need in the same land, God taught His people a life-giving lesson.

We can drink from it as well.

Isaac’s Experience in the Negev

In the book of Genesis, when the Philistines spitefully filled in Isaac’s wells with dirt, he dug more wells.

  • The first two wells he named “Argument” and “Opposition,” because herdsmen in the land claimed the water rights for themselves (Genesis 26:19-21).
  • But the third well posed no problem, so he named it “Room Enough,” saying, “At last the LORD has made room for us” (Genesis 26:22).

Isaac sowed in the Negev and reaped a hundredfold during the same year. The text reveals how he could do it: “The LORD blessed him” (Gen. 26:12). Nothing could stop God from fulfilling His promises to Abraham and his descendants—not a desolate land or even contentious neighbors.

Nothing can stop God from fulfilling His promises to us who believe. (Tweet that.)

Drink deeply from that truth.

(All Sde Boker pics courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Vision Accomplished—and Much More to Come

Today, the small home at Sde Boker where Ben-Gurion lived in the Negev houses a museum memorializing his dream. And water piped south from Galilee has helped bring his dream to life.

When I visited Ben Gurion’s modest home in the Negev, I noticed in his vast library a surprising volume: Things to Come, by J. Dwight Pentecost—a hardback that explains the Bible’s fulfillment of Israel’s hope through the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Even the birth of the state of Israel in 1948 affirms God’s faithfulness to continue with a people who will receive the land promised to Abraham.

Isaac’s words almost sound prophetic: “At last the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land” (Genesis 26:22).

Our setbacks only serve to glorify God as He keeps His promises against impossible odds. (Tweet that.)

Prayer of application:

Lord, I’ve lost count of the wells that the Philistines have filled in my life. It seems every bit of progress I enjoy finds the enemy in opposition. But Your care for Isaac in the barren Negev and Your sustaining the Jews throughout the ages reveal that You are a God who keeps His word. No argument or opposition I experience today can outstay Your blessing. A thousand lost wells only serve to glorify You more when You fulfill Your promises to me against impossible odds.

Question: What hope do you cling to when your wells get full of dirt? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), page 38.

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