At its essence, the digging of wells symbolizes all of our acts of psycho-spiritual inner-exploration. Our forefathers tradition of digging compels us to our own delving beneath the surface of things. Well-digging symbolizes a commitment to living at the depths, to seeing beyond facades. A commitment to excavating our own emotional layering, our deeper motivations, our most intimate feelings. For, once cracked through, what may have seemed like lifeless rock on the surface, often turns out to be its very opposite – life-sustaining waters.
So while the digging of wells may seem like an inconsequential thread in this parsha which is so full of major drama, it is anything but inconsequential for the larger narrative of Jewish history. In Israel, digging is a political act. You can hardly travel a mile here without tripping over some archeological dig or another. Archeology is anything but inconsequential. The ample archeological finds here should silence any doubts as to the legitimacy of the Jewish people's claim to this land. Indeed, the more archeologists 'dig Israel', the more we find artifacts attesting to our unseverable connection to this land. And I would augur, that the more we as individuals dig into our inner-selves, the more we too will find the inner 'artifacts of faith' of our personal connection to this land.
I am starting to see
the archeology of things.
How Abraham dug and dipped
and Isaac double-dug and double-dipped
and our digging and dipping
has been tripling and quadrupling
for so many generations
worth of drashas and dreamings
that this land is simply teeming
With stories stacked
high on scaffolds
picks and shovels
bringing back to life
old holy rubble
that was once King David's castle
was once the Holy Temple
was once our father's very simple
well of water in the middle
of the desert.
And all this excavating,
us deeper and deeper
in descending order
til we cut clear through
to the other side of God’s green globe
And so we think
We are very shallow
to be so close
to the surface.
But how far really have we hounded down
the day light through the depth of the dirt?
“If were not going up then
we might as well work
allllll the way down!”
And so grinned our fathers
as downward they ploughed.
And with this thought perhaps
did their very digging commence,
with the knowledge that their descendents would
one day rise like a volcanic surge
to explode again upon Middle
-Eastern earth and sky.
If only to show all that
that which this earth holds in her
great dank girth
is a swelling story of well-diggers,
carrying small knifes and long stories
selling cans of holy ground to all who'd
find the tale worth storing.
Did our fathers three begin.
Though the land sits besieged & silenced
we'll go digging with our pens.
For underneath the surface
our father's waters wells
well up again.