Beersheva - Ancient Crossroads

August 04, 2023

Let me introduce you to the ancient site of Beersheva. This place is mentioned thirty-three times in the Old Testament. Beersheva plays a significant role in Israel’s history, helping us understand the breadth of the covenant. It was no accident that God chose this place for Abraham and Sarah to live out their years.


Located in the Negev Desert, Beersheva is one of the southernmost cities of the ancient kingdom of Israel. The name Beersheva comes from the Hebrew words be’er (meaning “well”) and sheva (meaning “promise or oath”), and the place was named after a contract over water rights between Abraham and Abimelek (Genesis 21:25–31; 26:23–33). Life at Beersheva dates back as far as the fourth millennium BC. However, the visible excavated city is from the time of the Iron Age, around the eighth century BC, when King Hezekiah reigned and Isaiah prophesied.


So why did God make a covenant with Abraham and bring him to this location? The answer lies in the landscape. Beersheva stands at the crossroads of the ancient world. It was a meeting point between two major north-south routes—the Way of the Patriarchs and the King’s Highway. Both were major trade and communication highways. So whoever controlled Beersheva had access to the entire country.


God had promised to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the beach. By telling Abraham to leave his comfortable home and move his family to the desert of Beersheva, God was preparing to spread His covenant message to the rest of humanity. In Beersheva, the world would see Abraham trust God for all his needs–spiritually and physically. In Beersheva, Abraham’s faith in God would grow as it was tested and proven. The very fact that Abraham and his family could live in this arid environment showed the world how God provided for them as they obeyed Him.


God’s call to follow and obey Him is no different for us today. Take a step back and map your location in life. Just as God placed Abraham at Beersheva to spread the message of His kingdom, so God has a purpose for your placement in history—to bring Him glory. How will you live out your calling at the crossroads where God has placed you?

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