I enjoy reading the Old Testament, even the seemingly dry books. Beautiful images of the Father’s love and Christ’s nature dwell throughout those ancient pages. A perfect example of this can be found in two verses tucked among some dry passages about land allotment.
Both Joshua 15 and Judges 1 recount this story. If scriptures repeat something, pay attention. It is important.
“When Acsah married Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What’s the matter?” She said, “Give me another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.” Joshua 15:18,19
Caleb had aided Israel in taking over the land of Canaan. Now at the age of 85, he and the tribe of Judah were claiming their own land. He was in the middle of a war–a war that affected the entire tribe of Judah. Yet when his daughter came to him, he gave her his full attention. He understood Acsah so well, he knew something was wrong before she spoke.
He had already given Acsah land. But it was located in the southern, dry region, and she needed water for the land to prosper. She approached her father boldly, asking for what she needed. They must have had a close relationship for her to do so.
How did Caleb respond? He gave her more than she requested. I did a little research to understand the significance of the upper and lower springs. When I read that part, it seemed to mean more than he was giving her a lot of water. The upper springs run down from higher ground. If you remember from science class, water vapor is forced upwards until it condenses into rain. Then, it falls back to earth. Trickling down the mountains and hills, it creates streams and rivers. Caleb promised Acsah a source of water that constantly refreshed itself.
What are the lower springs? I believe they are the groundwater and natural wells formed by rivers and springs as they seep into the lower ground. These deposits provide fresh water during dry seasons. Caleb didn’t just give Acsah water. He gave her all the water she would ever need, streams during the rainy seasons and wells for the dry ones.
Our Heavenly Father Knows Our Needs
These couple of verses depict our Father’s abundant love for us. I’ve heard people say, “God has more important things to worry about than my needs.” Caleb was in the middle of a war, yet he made time for Acsah. Our heavenly Father does the same. He is concerned with the needs of his children.
Like Caleb knew something was bothering Acsah before she said a word, God knows what’s on our heart before we speak. Matthew 6:32 states, “…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” If he already knows our needs, why pray?
Because our Father wants a relationship with us. He wants a two-way street, a conversation back and forth. Like Acsah sought out her father and boldly spoke with him about her needs, we should pursue our father. Matthew 6:33 continues, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously…”
Our Heavenly Father Gives Abundantly
Once we ask, we should expect that our Father will give us what we need and more. Like Caleb, our Father wants to bless us. “You need water?” God says. “Here’s the upper springs. And, you know what, I’ll throw in the lower springs, too.” As Matthew 6:33 declares, “…and he will give you everything you need.”
Our Heavenly Father Cares about our Current and Future Needs
By giving Acsah the upper and lower springs, Caleb was looking out for his daughter long term. The upper springs met her needs in the present, but the lower springs were there for her to draw from during tough times. When the rain dried up, Acsah would still have water for her land. So our Father is concerned about our future as well as our current needs. God rejoices with us in good times and protects us in hard times. “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17
Our Heavenly Father Supplies our Spiritual Needs
Finally, I can’t study these verses without being reminded of our ultimate need–reconciliation with the Father. We cannot have the relationship described above until we are made right with him. Because we are unable to restore that relationship, God provided for that as well. Through Jesus, he forgives our sins and seals our eternity. “But those who drink the water I [Jesus] give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14
Again like Caleb, God gives the upper springs and, also, the lower springs. Jesus is the water running from above, washing us and pointing us toward heaven. The Holy Spirit is the lower springs, the well we draw from for guidance and strength. “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.)” John 7:38,39
I’m amazed at the depth of truth packed in those two tiny verses. Our Father loves us as Caleb loved Acsah. He wants to give abundantly to us. For him nothing is off limits, not even his only son.