Well of Beer

Before the article title is misunderstood, allow some clarification. This is not an endorsement of Harry McClintock’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain” lyrics that claim the ideal paradise would include “the little streams of alcohol (that) come trickling down the rocks.”[1] Neither is this a railing condemnation of Jack county’s recent political decision to become “wet.” It’s not even a social statement, providing non-drinkers everywhere a socially acceptable way to fit into the debauchery of alcohol-driven events by limiting one’s consumption to “Adam’s Ale” (which is water, actually). This article has to do with providence.

Providence is one of those mysterious methods by which God, using natural phenomenon, watches over, cares for and protects His own. Even though Mordecai, Esther’s “dad,” would not definitively ear-mark a seemingly random circumstance as God working through providence (Esther 4:14), he still understood that God was active in world events, moving and shaping things to His will. We people of faith have always believed that God is not confined to miracles to manipulate circumstances in His servants’ lives for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), and “he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

It is no surprise, then, to find the Old Testament full of God’s providence, illustrated and identified, particularly in the Exodus. One example occurred immediately following a long dry spell of what seemed to be multiple defeats. A Canaanite king had been allowed by God to overpower the rag-tag congregation for a brief moment, even taking some prisoners, in order to teach them about Divine reliance (Numbers 21:1-3). Not long afterward, their discouragement intensified over a perceived lack of water and God sent a plague of serpents among them because of their faithlessness (v. 4-9). Moving on from Divine discipline to Divine deliverance, “From there they went to Beer, which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together, and I will give them water’” (Numbers 21:16). This was a turning point, inspiring joyous song, military conquests and a bee-line route to the Promised Land. And, it should have been a reminder of God’s never-ending care. Yet, at the entry to their rest, memory failed them.

Never forget that God will take care of you and you “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13) because Jesus “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). The answers to life’s challenges will not be found in status, riches, drugs, alcohol or any other earthly thing. The Well of Beer is a reminder that God is near.

Jeff Sweeten

[1] https://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/obrotherwhereartthou/inthebigrockcandymountains.htm