Weeping is a form of healing.
Jacob and his entire family set out on the journey to Egypt. When they stopped in Beersheba, Jacob offered sacrifices to God. That night God spoke to Jacob: I am the God of your father. Don’t be afraid of going down to Egypt. I’m going to make you a great nation there. I’ll go with you down to Egypt; I’ll also bring you back here. And when you die, Joseph will be with you; with his own hand he’ll close your eyes (46:3-4, MSG).
Then, Jacob sent Judah ahead of the caravan to ask Joseph for directions to Goshen. When they arrived in Goshen, Joseph traveled to meet his father. The moment Joseph saw him, he threw himself on his neck and wept. He wept a long time (46:29, MSG). Jacob announced that he was ready to die since he’d seen his son alive and looked in his face.
Beersheba, which means “well of the oath,” is where Abraham (Jacob’s grandfather) made a covenant with King Abimilech in which they agreed Abraham had possession of a well he’d dug there. It is the place where Abraham planted a tree and worshiped God.
Beersheba is also the location where Hagar (the maid with whom Abraham fathered Ishmael) went when she was kicked out of the house. Hagar thought she and Ishmael would die of thirst, but God met her at Beersheba and pointed her to a well.
God appeared to Isaac (Jacob’s father) at Beersheba, reaffirming the covenant he’d made with Abraham. Isaac built an altar there and worshiped God.
Beersheba also happened to be the place where Jacob had deceived his brother many years earlier. Finally, he’d come full circle. After all the years of deceiving and being deceived, Jacob was on his way to bringing his family together. The place where Jacob carried out his part in his family’s legacy of deceit was the same place God promised to restore his family. Instead of bringing up his past, God comforted and assured Jacob all would be well in Egypt and that Joseph would be with him when he died.
When Jacob arrived in Goshen, Joseph met him there. I imagine the scene was much like that of a movie reunion. I can picture the moment when when their eyes met. The years probably melted away as Joseph ran to throw his arms around his father. Seconds turned into minutes as they clung to each other, weeping tears of sorrow and healing and joy. The moment had finally come when Jacob could declare he would be able to die in peace.
In this part of the story, we learn what is a holy place for some can be a place of destruction for others. We also see that sometimes we have to go back to the place of our destruction and allow God to comfort us there before we can move forward. We learn that God is more interested in keeping his promises to us than he is in dragging up our failures.
In addition, we can see that weeping is a form of healing. When we weep, it’s because we feel intense emotion, whether sorrow or joy or a mixture of both. Weeping allows us to release those emotions, to empty ourselves. Specifically, when we’re weeping due to sorrow or grief, the emptiness that remains allows room for healing and peace.
Next, we’ll discover what happened between Joseph and his family after their reunion.