Today's reading begins with a well (Genesis 29:9-12) and ends with watering troughs. Throughout scripture there are references to water, living water.
Water is used as a metaphor for the word of God. So let me draw a parallel here.
Jacob "contaminated" the water with striped or spotted limbs depending on the type of offspring he wanted from his livestock. By putting something extra in the water, it appears he influenced the progeny of the sheep and goats.
So how careful are we about what gets added to our water -- the water of the word?
We are cautioned that in the last days even the elect will be led away. How can that happen unless even the elect are biblically illiterate?
The best teachers are fallible and can unknowingly drop a striped or spotted stick into their teachings.
And there are those wolves in sheep's clothing that would sneak the striped or spotted stick into the water for their own ends.
Our only defense is a thorough study of the word of God under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. When we are thoroughly steeped in the truth, any falsehood will become obvious.
Help us to study Your word. Imbue us with the discernment of the Holy Spirit so that we may identify and refute half-truths and falsehoods.
In Jesus' most precious name.