Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo Da Ponte), The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel at the Well

After 1566
Oil on canvas
Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa, Italy

In Genesis 29:1-6 Jacob has traveled in search of his kinsman Laban when he ccmes to a well where several shepherds are watering their sheep. The well and the shepherds are in the left foreground. Jacob is the man standing in the center. As in the text, he is talking with one of the shepherds when he notices Rebecca approaching with her sheep.

Curiously, the most prominent part of the scene is not Jacob but the boy in the center foreground who is milking a ewe while it drinks water from the well. The transformation of water into milk, emphasized by the pair of pails beside the boy, may have symbolic significance.

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Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.