Abrahamís servant had what seems a strange way of choosing a wife for his masterís son. Genesis 24 describes it this way: "And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink. And she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also. Let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac. And thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master." (v. 14)
Why did he choose such an unorthodox criterion for a bride? Maybe it was because he knew little about the people of Aram, her home. Perhaps it was because he knew them all too well. After all, these were his masterís family.
There is one particular quality in Rebekah that his test pointed out. She gave him a drink; almost anyone would have done so. Hospitality demanded no less. When Rebekah offered to water his camels as well, though, she was showing generosity well beyond expectation. If he could look into the future, Abrahamís servant might have seen how Laban, her brother, treated her son, Jacob. If he knew how shrewd and grasping her kinsmen were, that was a good test.
Her future father-in-law had shown such generosity shortly before. When three strangers came by he invited them to stop for water and bread. Instead, he gave them meat and milk. (Gen 18:1-8) In following his example, Rebekah showed herself a fitting bride for his son. Rebekah further showed her generosity in agreeing to go with Abrahamís servant immediately. Custom allowed her up to a year to stay home and take leave of her family. She chose instead to go from Aram to Canaan when asked.
What an example Rebekah is for all of us! Are we as generous with our time--even our lives--as she was? She thought it nothing to leave her fatherís rich house to become a wanderer in a strange land. Paul tells us the Messiah shared her attitude to a greater degree. "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross." (Phil 2:5-8)