“Let the Maiden to whom shall I say, “Pray let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say Drink and I will water your camels’- let her be the one whom thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac.” Gen 24: 14
Abraham asks his servant to issue a test to see which girl at the well would take initiative and offer a drink to the servant and the servant’s camels. By doing this it would show that she was selfless, helpful and kind; necessary qualities for a good wife. Rebecca (Rebekah in Hebrew) was the girl that offered, she did in fact marry Isaac and the rest is documented history. I would suggest reading the entire chapter to get the entire context.
So why did this passage impact me? Because I think we can learn a lot from the way Abraham tests Rebecca.
How can you discern if a person is virtuous?...by putting them to test in a real life situation. If you are looking for a potential spouse nothing can be more important. Why? Because 9 out of 10 times when people are dating they are only putting their best foot forward.
I suggest giving them a Rebecca test like Abraham did to see how the person interacts among their own family members, friends, co workers and peer groups. I guarantee that if you do this you will learn more about your potential spouse than from hours of dating.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule and nobody is perfect. But this test will reveal key strengths and weaknesses very effectively.
I remember when I was courting my wife, one of the things that drew me to her was her genuine compassion towards her ailing grandmother. I knew from seeing this that she would be a great wife. It is now three and a half years later, and sure enough, that same empathy and compassion are still there, and benefit me now as well.
This Rebecca test can be applied to other life situations as well; interviewing someone for a job, selecting a contractor, choosing Godparents for your child, sizing up people in sports, selecting a babysitter. There is great wisdom in this test. Use it and you will pleasantly surprised.