January 15, read through the Bible in a year.

Today there are three chapters.

January 15: John 14, Genesis 30, Genesis 31 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

In John 14 we are in the last hour after the Passover meal but before they depart to Gethsemane. Jesus tells them he is going away to prepare a mansion, more precisely a dwelling place for them. Since he is leaving he is going to send another comforter or advocate. (I have put in a short explanation on the difference in the interpretation of this passage between Christianity and Islam). Jesus then explains clearly he is going away and will send the Holy Spirit in his place.

Genesis 30 tells of the remaining children of Jacob (except Benjamin, who will be born later). It also has a story about Rachel, desperate to get a child of her own is bargaining with Leah for Reuben’s mandrakes. After Joseph was born, Jacob wants to leave and go back to the promised land, but Laban bargains with him to stay and make them even more prosperous. Through selective breeding Jacob acquires the majority of the flocks.

This displeases Laban’s sons, so in Genesis 31 Jacob flees from Laban. However, as they depart Rachel steals the Idols from Laban as they leave. Laban finds out, pursues Jacob and catches up with him. Laban looks for the idols at no avail. Rachel has hid them under the saddle of her camel and sits on it claiming she has her period. Finally Laban says farewell to all and he and Joseph establishes the Mizpah.

Genesis 30, Jacob’s children, mandrakes, Jacob’s breeding method.

Mandrakes are both narcotic and hallucinogenic, and were used for sorcery and divination, but were also believed to cure sterility. Rachel kept trying anything.

Hitler practised mysticism, and possessed mandrakes. Nowadays mandrakes are used in some Wiccan rituals. And then there was the early 20th century cartoon “Mandrake the Magician”.

So Laban used divination. Many believe that the best way to find water is using a divining rod. If bent the right way it will point down to where water can be found.