“Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep lying beside it. For out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place upon the mouth of the well.”
This Yahweh tradition continues as Jacob traveled further until he came upon ‘the people of the east’ at a well that had a stone on top of it with three flocks of sheep around it. This phrase ‘people of the east’ refers to Arameans, somewhere in Syria. The shepherds would roll the stone off the top of the well to water the sheep. Then put it back when they were done.
“Jacob said to them, ‘My brothers, where do you come from?’ They said, ‘We are from Haran.’ He said to them, ‘Do you know Laban son of Nahor?’ They said, ‘We do.’ He said to them, ‘Is it well with him?’ ‘Yes,’ they replied. ‘Here is his daughter Rachel coming with the sheep.’ He said, ‘Look, it is still broad daylight. It is not time for the animals to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.’ But they said, ‘We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well. Then we water the sheep.’ While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep. She kept them. Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept aloud. Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son. So she ran and told her father. When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, and Laban said to him, ‘Surely you are my bone and my flesh!’ He stayed with him a month.”
Jacob asked them where they were from and they responded, Haran. Then he asked if they knew Laban, the son of Nahor. They answered that they did and said that his daughter Rachel was coming with the sheep, because Rachel was in charge of her father’s sheep. The stone could not be rolled off until all the sheep were gathered there. Jacob then rolled the stone off the well, kissed Rachel, and wept. He explained to Rachel that he was related to her father since he was Rebekah’s son, the brother of her father. They ran to tell Laban, but he came running out to greet them, embraced them, and brought them to his house. Laban said, ‘Surely you are my bone and my flesh,’ and Jacob stayed a month.