By Sarah Christmyer
“Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” ~Genesis 21:19
Overnight, Hagar lost everything.
For 13 years, her son was heir to a powerful man who loved him. Then one morning, that same man sent them into the desert with just some bread and a skin of water to sustain them.
Good luck with that.
With nowhere to go, Hagar and Ishmael wandered aimlessly in the wilderness until the water was gone. Then Hagar, unable to face watching the inevitable death of her son, left him in the shade of a bush and walked away.
Who Hears You Cry When You’re Alone?
From where she sat, about a bowshot away, Ishmael might have been out of sight but I’ll bet she heard him cry. That must have torn her heart! For a mother to hear a child’s cry and have to turn a deaf ear, to know she has nothing to offer…. What incredible pain.
Scripture tells us that someone else heard the boy cry, as well. God heard Ishmael’s cry and sent his angel to Hagar. To Hagar! What love the Father has for parents of weeping children.
God Hears And He Answers
God met that sorrowful mother in three ways:
- He comforted her: don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy in his trouble.
- He gave her a job and a motive to do it: Get up and support Ishmael; I’m going to make of him a great nation.
- He renewed her perspective so she could go on: he opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.
Three practical things that gave her hope!
It’s that last thing that stands out to me today: God didn’t create that well then and there. He helped her to see it.
Lord, when I feel discarded like Hagar, or abandoned, or lost and without hope; when there is nothing I can do to save myself or help my child or someone close to me: listen to my cries! Help me turn to you and in that turning, to get the comfort and strength I need to help others. Open my eyes to see and drink from the living water only you provide.
Call to Action
Take time to meditate on Hagar’s story in Genesis 21, and on Psalm 34 which it’s paired with in today’s readings. What resonates in your heart? Take it to prayer and ask God to open your eyes to his love.
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