Genesis 26:15-18

(15) And the Philistines stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of his father Abraham, filling them with earth.

(16) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you have become far too big for us.”

(17) So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the wadi of Gerar, where he settled.

(18) Isaac dug anew the wells which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham’s death; and he gave them the same names that his father had given them.

בראשית כ״ו:ט״ו-י״ח

טו) וְכָל־הַבְּאֵרֹ֗ת אֲשֶׁ֤ר חָֽפְרוּ֙ עַבְדֵ֣י אָבִ֔יו בִּימֵ֖י אַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֑יו סִתְּמ֣וּם פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים וַיְמַלְא֖וּם עָפָֽר׃

טז) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֲבִימֶ֖לֶךְ אֶל־יִצְחָ֑ק לֵ֚ךְ מֵֽעִמָּ֔נוּ כִּֽי־עָצַֽמְתָּ־מִמֶּ֖נּוּ מְאֹֽד׃

יז) וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ מִשָּׁ֖ם יִצְחָ֑ק וַיִּ֥חַן בְּנַֽחַל־גְּרָ֖ר וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב שָֽׁם׃

יח) וַיָּ֨שָׁב יִצְחָ֜ק וַיַּחְפֹּ֣ר ׀ אֶת־בְּאֵרֹ֣ת הַמַּ֗יִם אֲשֶׁ֤ר חָֽפְרוּ֙ בִּימֵי֙ אַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֔יו וַיְסַתְּמ֣וּם פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים אַחֲרֵ֖י מ֣וֹת אַבְרָהָ֑ם וַיִּקְרָ֤א לָהֶן֙ שֵׁמ֔וֹת כַּשֵּׁמֹ֕ת אֲשֶׁר־קָרָ֥א לָהֶ֖ן אָבִֽיו׃

1) What is so significant about the wells?

2) Why does the תורה include such a mundane issue as to how יצחק gets his water? Why is this episode included in the תורה?

3) Why did the Philistines stop up the wells that אברהם had dug? Didn’t they need the water?

4) What is the issue that the Philistines had with יצחק?

5) Why did יצחק dig up the wells his father had dug? Why not dig his own wells?

6) Why did יצחק give the wells the same name his father gave to them? Why do they need names at all?

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    I don't know about some of your question parts, but back in those times, water was not "mundane". It was absolutely crucial-literally, a life or death matter! There was no Poland Spring or Evian at the corner store. A good water source was crucial in determining where to live, if cities and civilizations could be supported, if wars/sieges could occur. etc. That and food were basic "mundane" things that we take for granted these days, but it wasn't always that way. Evidently wells were somewhat like water coolers today, a center for socializing. It's natural that water issues are in Torah. – Gary Dec 31 '16 at 3:52
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    @Gary Thank you. I agree with your point. However, the Torah does not usually share with us much about their practical lives. It doesn't talk about exactly how they earned a living, made a meal, built a home or shelter. When it does give us some description as in Yaakov's arrangements with Lavan, it often has a purpose in mentioning it. We are given snippets of some aspects of their lives when they have significant messages and ideas to learn. However, on the whole we don't have a lot of detail on their practical and personal lives. Therefore, my assumption is that there is some idea. – RCW Jan 1 '17 at 2:22
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    You're Welcome. I agree - there might be some sort of messages/meanings larger than the wells being just wells. There probably was a whole set of social/property customs(?) associated with wells then. I don't know what they were - but it makes me think of that scene in Lawrence of Arabia where Peter O'Toole and his temporary companion come upon a well, and the companion guy drinks from it and another guy rides up on a horse and shoots him dead - evidently he was from an Arab tribe that was in conflict with the companion's tribe, and he could tell this just from the clothes he was wearing. – Gary Jan 2 '17 at 2:02
  • @Gary Well lets hope someone gives a good answer before we get shot. – RCW Jan 2 '17 at 4:53
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    !!! That would be nice! Meanwhile, don't drink from strange waters. – Gary Jan 2 '17 at 5:12

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