The Well, the Ram, and Jehovah Jireh

“Hagar in the Wilderness”
Artist: Camille Corot (French, Paris 1796–1875 Paris) | Date: 1835

And then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. – Genesis 21:19 (NIV)

Abraham looked up and . . . saw a ram. – Genesis 22:13

I’ve always felt that Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant, got a raw deal. Her job was to serve her mistress. This she did. And what did it get her? Not five gold stars for obedience, that’s for sure.

We first meet her in the pages of ancient Scripture when barren Sarah decides the only way she’ll have children is to order her maidservant to sleep with her husband. Any child conceived as a result would then be considered Sarah’s. Legally.

So Hagar sleeps with the big man and conceives. Sarah’s abuse of the pregnant maidservant is so harsh that Hagar runs away. But God meets her in the wilderness, gives her a blessing, and sends her back. Fast forward about 15 years to the weaning celebration of Abraham and Sarah’s miracle baby, Isaac. Sarah spots half-brother Ishmael taunting the little guy and runs to Abraham. “Get rid of that slave woman and her son!” she orders him.

The next morning, Abraham gives Hagar some food and water and sends her off into the wilderness.

When the water was gone, she put Ishmael under a bush and went off a short distance, where she sat sobbing, “I cannot watch him die.”

Once again God meets her in the wilderness. I love how the writer of Genesis describes what happens next: “God heard the boy crying” (Genesis 21:17) and “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” (v. 19).

They do not die in the wilderness. Ishmael becomes “a great nation,” as God promised his mother.

Fast forward again, this time to Abraham and Isaac on a mountain on the land of Moriah, where God has sent Abraham on a mission: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, and . . . sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2).

They were almost there when Isaac asks, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

I used to wonder if Abraham’s answer, “God himself will provide the lamb,” was a cop-out. I mean, would he really tell Isaac he was the offering? And I used to think Abraham lied when he told the servants to wait at the bottom of the mountain: “I and the boy will go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5, emphasis mine).

Image by rjmcsorley on Pixabay

Then on the mountain, just after God has stayed his hand from plunging the sacrificial knife into Isaac’s heart, “Abraham looked up and . . . saw a ram,” which he sacrificed in place of Isaac.

Did the ram just happen to be there? Or had it been there all along, making its way up the mountain and getting itself stuck in the thicket just as Abraham looked up?

Did the well that provided life-giving water to Hagar and Ishmael just happen to be there? Some commentators say it was there all along, but Hagar, in her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual condition, just didn’t see it. Some say it was well hidden.

The answer to these questions is the name that Abraham gives to the mountain: “The-LORD-Will-Provide”(YHWH Yireh or Jehovah Jireh).

The Hebrew word used for “provide” also means “to see.”

God is still Jehovah Jireh today.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of the value of every person on this planet. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son . . .” (John 3:16). Amen.

Read and reflect on Genesis 21:14–21; 22:1–19

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor with your time with God  © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

A Faithful Friend

Sharon and me, enjoying a Christmas lunch together

            Carry each other’s burdens. – Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

            I don’t know what I’d do without my friend Sharon. We met at a Bible study nearly 45 years ago and discovered we had much in common. We were both stay-at-home mothers struggling with more month than money, hard-working husbands, and unfulfilled dreams.

            As our friendship grew, I’d find myself dialing her number whenever I needed someone to talk to, cheer me up or give me advice. We spent hours analyzing life, the world, our children and our men. I could tell her things I couldn’t even tell my husband and know she’d understand.

            No matter how busy she was, no matter what time of the day I called, she took the time to listen, talk and, most important, pray with me. Even when I didn’t ask, I knew I could count on her prayers.

            As our children grew, our lives became more complicated and the calls less frequent. But even though we’re both busy, I know I can call her when I or one of my family is experiencing a crisis.

            On the night before He died, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. 

            “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He told them. “Stay here and keep watch with Me.”

            But the busy day, big meal and evening of fellowship tool their toll. They fell asleep, waking only when Judas returned with a club-carrying, sword-wielding crowd. And then they fled. When Jesus needed them most, they let Him down. Perhaps if they had prayed instead of slept, they would not have deserted Him, leaving Him to suffer and die alone.

            There are times when people ask us to pray for them. Are we like the sleepy trio whose spirit was willing and flesh was weak? Or are we like my friend Sharon, whose faithfulness and prayers make all the difference?

Thank You, Lord, for a friend who prays with and for me when I face my own Gethsemanes. May I be as faithful a friend to others as she is to me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 26:36–46.

© 2022 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.