Hagar and the well

Let’s look at Hagar in the Old Testament. Her son was smacked talking Sarah. In order to have peace, Abraham kicked her out. To throw her out at that time meant certain death.

They were nomadic people camping in the desert. There wasn’t anywhere else she could go. She went out by herself with her son and all she could see was desert. She knew they were done for.

She started crying out to God. He heard her and he opened her eyes. There was a well nearby that she not noticed. It’s not that God had suddenly made the well appear. Rather he opened her eyes so that she could see what was already there. What she needed to survive was right there next to her.

Are our lives like that as well? How many times do we think that we are lost? How many times do we think there is no hope? If we cry out to God, God can open our eyes and show us that what we need is right next to us.

Our eyes are then open to new opportunities and new possibilities. But in order for them to be open we have to hit rock bottom and ask for help. It is kind of like being an alcoholic. Before you’re able to get real help you have to hit the bottom.

Hagar had certainly hit the bottom. She called out to the only one that she knew could help her, and her eyes were opened. That’s the order of things. It isn’t that we see it first. It’s that we feel helpless and hopeless. Then we call out to God. Then our eyes are opened, and only then can we see our way out.

Genesis 21:9-20
9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this handmaid and her son. For the son of this handmaid shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight on account of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy handmaid. In all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice. For in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the handmaid will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot. For she said, Let me not look upon the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad. And the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not. For God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thy hand. For I will make him a great nation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20 And God was with the lad, and he grew. And he dwelt in the wilderness, and became, as he grew up, an archer. (ASV)

The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their brother or sister beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened that their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, she was determined that she would not leave forever. She would come back and tell her friends what she had found at the top.

When she reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, she was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that she decided she must take a nap. As she slept, her body changed and when she woke up, she had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with four broad wings and a body designed for flying.

So, fly she did! As she soared she saw the beauty of a whole new world – and a far better way of life than what she had ever known existed.

Then she remembered her beetle friends, and how they were thinking that by now she was dead. She wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that she was now more alive than she had ever been before. Her life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But her new body couldn’t not go back into the water. She could not get back to tell her friends the good news. Then she understood that the time would come when they, too, would know what she now knew. So, she raised her wings and flew off into her joyous new life.

-author unknown-

(This was read at my Mother-in-law’s memorial service, and I think it is worthy of passing on)

Little seed

Little seed, reach up.
Reach up to the light.
What light, you say? What light?
All I see here is darkness.
I’m surrounded by dirt and dark and worms.
It is wet. It is sad.
I am sad.

Reach up, I say. Feel that tug. Feel the warmth pulling you up.
Feel the pull of the earth pulling you down.
Soon you will burst forth, break from your shell,
break forth with a shoot going up
and roots going down.

Soon your shell will soften
and the old curiosity will grab hold of you
and make you stretch stretch stretch
like a cat, like a yogi
away from where you are
to where you need to be.

Soon you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
Soon you’ll see why I’m cheering you on.

Sunlight! The warmth of the day tickles your tiny
tender shoots.

Rain! The water, like honey, bathes you, feeds you, blesses you.

You are blessed and baptized in this rain, this gift, this beauty.

You never knew the blessing that was sun,
you’d never know the bounty that was rain,
if you’d stayed hidden away in the dirt.
If you’d stayed there, you’d never know
this other life,
this life on the other side
of here
and now.