6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth (the Plain of Tears). Genesis 35:6-8
Hidden inside this passage is the untold story of Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah. And yet, her influence over Jacob and his family were probably enormous. Just to set the stage, Rebekah lived with her immoral brother and father. Deborah was probably also her teacher. Rebekah went with her nurse along with Abraham’s men. After she married Isaac, Deborah was probably still around. Deborah would have been there for the birth of Esau and Jacob, and would have helped raise those two. And finally, she would have a lot of input into how Jacob was raising his children. She was probably just always there, in the background, going about her day for years.
Family friends are like that. You hardly notice them when they’re around, but when they pass away, the hole they leave behind is enormous. That’s why Jacob buried her in the Plain of Tears. She had a major influence over his life.
Today would be a good day to phone a family friend and let them know how much they are appreciated.