And Caleb said, “Whoever strikes Kiriath-sepher and captures it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter
as wife.” And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his
daughter as wife. When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she got off
her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since
you have given me the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And he gave her the upper
springs and the lower springs. (Joshua 15:16-19)
This story definitely has a different cultural context than most of us are used to. Caleb offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to whoever could conquer the city of Kirjath Sepher. In the narrative we find out that Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, was the successful warrior. Reading between the lines, and knowing his positive character, I think that Caleb loved his daughter Achsah very much. Her name means “anklet,” and she was very precious to him. He wanted her to have a brave husband who would provide for her and protect her. He even gave her land in the South1 as a wedding present. This was kind, but it was also a test of faith. The land in the South was dry and barren, and needed irrigation to be cultivated.
When Achsah asked for an additional field with springs of water she wasn’t being greedy, but had a legitimate need that aligned with her father’s desire to bless her. Confidence in God finds its expression in prayer: “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 Jn. 5:14-15). Here we have the assurance of answered prayer as a present possession. But we must remember that two conditions to this promise are that our requests must be according to His will, and that God administers the answers in His own time and way.
Secure in her father’s love and confident in his care, Achsah approached him humbly and asked expectantly, with gratitude for past blessings. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). She mirrored the same ambitious faith of Caleb himself (Josh. 14:12), and in reply he gave her the upper and lower springs. “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills” (Deut. 8:7) — Caleb gave Achsah such an additional field that contained both valleys and hills flowing with fountains and springs.
Our God loves to bless us and is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20)! He will supply every need of ours according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). He gives us both upper and lower springs of blessing — heavenly and earthly; spiritual and temporal. Through the hills and valleys, the highs and lows of life, He will provide for us. By faith, we can make even the Valley of Baca (“Weeping”) a spring (Ps. 84:6). God has promised to never leave us, and His grace can minister to us in our greatest needs. Indeed, if the Valley of Weeping can become a spring, just think of the upper springs of joy when the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd us and guide us to springs of living water. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes! (Rev. 7:17).
- Negev: a large desert and semi-arid region of southern Israel.