The Mateh leaned against the wall of the tent to witness this momentous meeting. For though it was indeed, a branch from the Tree of Life/Knowledge, it was not to be the center of this council. If wood could chuckle, laughter would have burst from the Mateh at the thought. For in the center of the tent, the center of the meeting, there was wood, bursting in flame, as it was being transferred from mass to the energy of heat and light. And that was the metaphor for this meeting.

Here sat the tribal chief of Gerar, a man named Avimelech, and his warriors. They were men of heat, the heat of battle the heat of anger and possessiveness. Across from them sat Yitzhak and his herdsmen, Yitzhak the leader of light, the seeker of peace. Avimelech had called the meeting after the challenge of the wells. The Mateh thought back over the events of the past few weeks. Yitzhak and his men had dug a well and struck water. When seeing their good fortune, Avimelech’s men claimed the well for themselves. Yitzhak called the well ‘Esek’ ‘to be deprived.’ But Yitzhak would not fight for the well. He and his men moved and dug another well. Again there was a quarrel and Yitzhak named the well ‘Sitnah’ ‘Enmity’ and moved on without a struggle. Finally Yitzhak dug another well but this time there is no fight. Indeed, now, amazed at Yitzhak’s maze of good fortune, the warrior chieftain Avimelech came to sit in council with Yitzhak. Avimelech, this man of heat and war was sitting in the tent of Yitzhak the man of light and peace. Between the two men was a fire of heat and of light. The Mateh knew that its own role was not that of the burning wood, for it was to bring only light as it lightened and enlightened the burdens of the two-leggeds.

Avimelech the enemy was invited into the tent of Yitzhak and they sat to negotiate, with no preconditions, a path to peace, a way to live together on the earth from which these earthlings were formed. Outside there is thunder and lightning (barak) as these men sat in a tent on a raised platform (bama) and elevated the confrontation of conflict to a gentle journey of justice and hope. These two men, the man of heat and the man of light swore an oath to strive not against each other but to live with one another in harmony.

And so the place of this meeting was given a name of hope for all future history; ‘Be’er Sheva’ the ‘well of the oath’ the well-spring of light and hope and peace.

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