Friday, August 20, 2010

Rachel's Tomb: Memorialized Over 3,000 Years

Rachel's Tomb is behind these walls today. There is a school for women in there among other rooms.

Why am I choosing to talk about Rachel's tomb? When I  discovered that Rachel's tomb had been enlarged to what it is today, and had been fought over by Israelis and Muslims, and that it has been honored by both for over 3,000 years--closer to 3,500 years--it was an amazing fact to me and I wanted to share it. The second picture is of Rachel's tomb in 1910.

 Because Rachel was childless and Leah was having many sons, Rachel prayed to God and was given two sons: Joseph and Benjamin. What can our prayers accomplish? Rachel was desperate when she prayed to God after having said to her husband: "Give me children, or else I die!"
About 2 years ago, I was writing a lesson about Jacob and his wives--Leah and Rachel. The story goes that after Rachel had Joseph, Jacob decided to return to his homeland. Rachel was expecting their second child, and on the way back went into labor. Just after having Benjamin, Rachel died, and "She was buried there with a stone marker that still stands today." For some reason, the idea that her marker was still there was compelling, and I searched for "Rachel's Tomb" online with a picture in my mind of a deserted area far out in the country and a small stone on her grave.

The images that I saw online were stunning, and so different from what was in my own mind that I laughed out loud. It was a WOW factor that I haven't forgotten, and I asked you to look it up to see if you would have the same reaction. Rachel died over 3,000 years ago and she has been honored ever since! The original 13 stones, each representing Jacob and the 12 tribes of Israel were there for hundreds of years.

And throughout the centuries people have gone there to visit the grave and pray. The original stones have been added to and extended so that on the present site, there is a compound surrounding the original tomb and a school that is enclosed with walls. The tomb is on a rather busy street in the city of Bethlehem. All in all, an amazing development in so many ways. But to me, it demonstrates in a dramatic way the power of faith--not in ourselves, not in another person, or another creature of some kind, but in God!

You and I can have what is called "the butterfly effect," if you remember that each thought and each act moves through the universe endlessly. You can learn to reflect on our days and determine if you are becoming a better person or adding to the misery of the human race. You can decide this very moment to be a better person by being kinder, by behaving better, by having a loving attitude, and by creating a more meaningful relationship with God every day.



  1. I've always found Rachel's story very interesting. Jacob loved her so much that he was willing to work and work and work just to have her as his bride. She must have been a very special woman, at least to Jacob. To be loved like this is most every woman's dream. But, she was not just satisfied with Jacob's love, she wanted to return that love in the way that she knew would be most cherished by him...a child, hopefully a son. Most women naturally want to give and not just receive. It is just in our nature.
    It's also very encouraging to me that God answered her prayers. He has answered so many of mine and I'm very thankful. Is this the "woman" part of God? Does He not just want to receive our love, but give to us things that He knows will make us joyful... things that will show us His love and concern for our happiness?
    My "prayers" aren't usually the typical...Dear Heavenly Father...type. I mostly just talk to Him, in my head or even out loud. I think the way Mama was relating to us...God is there with us, actually there. The Father is surrounding us with protection and provision and nurturing, the Spirit is in us and knows our every thought. Jesus is our friend and holds our hand every step of our way. When I think of God in this way it makes Him very real to me.
    My daddy was a very special man. I think of God as being like Daddy was...he made me feel protected and provided for...he, most of the time, knew what was on my mind, even when I didn't say it...he was always there to help me along as I stumbled through life. I miss you, Daddy.

  2. Hey Donna...What a lovely response to my thoughts today. Thanks for sharing thoughts from your own heart. You're is easy for us to feel what Rachel was feeling as she yearned for a child. And she knew where to turn for help.
    Your last line brought tears to my eyes. All of us miss your Daddy very much. He was a rock we could depend on. So many people felt that way about him. Thanks again!

  3. I find myself acknowledging God when I read the Bible often or do my own Bible study. This creates prayerfulness & gratitude within that I do not have if I forget to keep the Word before me. It seems to always work that way for me. I have to have His words in my mind-then I pray. Study builds a relationship with God in my life. Then, I feel able to reach out in prayer. Study & prayer are habits that go hand in hand, or perhaps from my spirit through the Holy Spirit to Christ & then the Father. My picture looks like one of making sure that I create time each day for God's word & prayer.
    Rachel's Tomb is certainly a great monument to her there on the side of a busy road. Sad to think battles have been fought over it, though! I don't relate as much to her as some other Bible figures. But, she certainly played an important part in Bible history.
    The yogurt recipe looks good. I will try it.

  4. Paula...This is an excellent summing up of what it's all about: the more we are full of God's word, the more we can approach Him and His ways. We don't know a whole lot about Rachel (though the Jews have taken every word about her and memorialized them), so it isn't surprising you don't relate to her personally. The fact we should cling to from her reverencial memory for so long is what she has meant to the Jews as the mother of their nation. The Jews seem to have a celebration for everything and Rachel's birthday is no exception. Thank you for giving such a beautiful picture of "a day in the life."