But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they have rolled the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.”
Jacob met some people who were waiting by a well in a field to water their flocks. He encouraged them to go ahead with their task so the sheep could return to pasture before it was time for them to be gathered in for the night. It was still plenty of daylight left and he thought they should be enjoying their pasture instead of just hanging around the well. They explained that someone needed to roll the stone from the well. Since it was their common practice to roll the stone away, water the flocks and then return the stone to its place, they waited until everyone was present with their sheep to begin the process.
Spiritual Parallel: This reminds me of corporate watering through the church. There is definite benefit in joining together to receive the water of the Word and experience the water of the Holy Spirit. It is not a substitute for the personal, individual watering we should be participating in all the time. Both the individual and corporate spiritual watering are important. One compliments the other. Just as the natural sheep had to gather together for watering, spiritual sheep must do the same. Someone has to open the doors of the meeting place (like the rolling away of the stone) and then lock them again after service is over (like the returning the stone cover over the well). It is not practical for someone to open the church building every time a few people want to enjoy corporate worship. So times are designated, and people gather and wait on everyone else so the person opening and closing the facility can do it at the same time for everyone. God gave wisdom to natural shepherds for orderly and effective watering of their flocks. He did the same with His spiritual shepherds.