I was going through my daily Bible reading (I haven’t missed a day yet this year – don’t know how long that will hold, but we’ll see), and today’s portion was from Genesis 36. Admittedly, this is not a terribly thrilling chapter since it goes though a long list of Esau’s descendants. But there is one intriguing verse in this chapter – v. 24 – “These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah; he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon” (NAS).
Zibeon was the son of Seir the Horite, a Canaanite chief whose family intermarried with Esau’s family. They were most likely pagans – not followers of Yahweh…and yet there is a fascinating detail about at least one of their lives in this verse – “Anah (Esau’s father-in-law) found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father, Zibeon.”
He was just going on about his day, tending to his father’s donkeys, and he happened to come across this major oasis in the middle of a desert. Here are just some of the benefits offered by bathing in hot springs
- Your body temperature is increased enough that harmful germs and viruses are killed off.
- Blood circulation and cell oxygenation is increased, which means that more blood flows throughout your body and helps dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body while better nourishing your vital organs and tissues.
- Body metabolism is stimulated, and this leads to an improvement in digestion.
- Repeated hot springs bathing can help normalize endocrine functions and improve the body’s autonomic nervous system.
- Hot springs contain many negative ions that can help promote feelings of physical and psychological well-being and may improve sleep quality.
- The direct application of mineralized thermal waters to the skin can treat psoriasis, dermatitis, and fungal infections. Hot springs water can also be used to heal wounds and other skin injuries.
So when Anah found this hot spring, he found something pretty amazing! Still, I wondered if there could be more here than met the eye, so I did some digging and a little scriptural cross-referencing.
For instance, in Isaiah 35:6, the prophet proclaims a message of hope for those who are discouraged, frightened, or sick. Yahweh will save and heal. “Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (NIV).
This verse reminded me of two things: (1) The life-saving water springing up in the wilderness for Anah; and (2) Yeshua’s healing ministry on earth – and, indeed, the man Himself.
Consider what He said of Himself in John 7:37-38 (NIV): “…Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Just like the hot springs burst from within the ground for Anah, so do springs of living water burst forth in us who believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Did Anah know he’d be written about for posterity when he found those springs? Probably not. Did he understand, I wonder, how his story would tie into Scripture thousands of years after he was dead and gone? I doubt it. It’s not even very clear whether he was a believer in Yahweh.or not, although some people seem to think that the Horite god and the God of Israel are one and the same.
Nevertheless, this one verse in Genesis 36 tells us about something larger than just one man and a stream. It points to the living water that exists in every believer who ever has, and ever will, live – the True Healer and Life Sustainer.