Posted by: JennyRain | September 17, 2007

A Well of Water: Part II

Part II in a series


Her Mistress’ Plan


It was with reservation that Hagar agreed to Sarai’s instruction about how the family was to have their first child. Sarai had told Hagar that God had told them that a child would be born to them and not to fear Abram when he came to her that night. Hagar wondered if this is the method God had in mind, yet she did not question her mistresses commands. Hagar conceived immediately, but spent the duration of the pregnancy doubting all would be well after the birth. She was concerned that their little addition to the family would serve only to disrupt the tenuous balance they had all negotiated. Sarai’s desire for a child was so intense, and she had endured her barrenness for so long, that her longing blinded her.  
When Abram had shared God’s promise of a child with Sarai, Hagar saw her mistresses mood change immediately, in addition to her prayers, her daily activities, and her focus. Sarai became obsessed with the “Promised Child” and she seemed to do everything in her power to help the process along. For five and a half years, Abram endured nightly visits from Sarai, as well as monthly bouts of sulking as she woke morning after morning to the reality that she was still barren. Hagar watched in heartbreaking agony as her mistress experienced the reawakening of her life-long dream, only to endure more unending years of it being unrealized. She wished her mistress could just rest in the promise instead of working so hard to help make it happen.  
After five years of failed attempts, Sarai brusquely approached Hagar and commanded “Abram will come to you tonight. Obey him.” Sarai had not even looked at Hagar when lashing out the decree, but had peered instead over the top of her head into the surrounding landscape, and then staunchly walked off. Hagar was left behind, alone and frightened of her mistresses latest request, and powerless to change the dangerous path that the family seemed to be taking. She thought, “Can no one see what could become of this? Surely Abram will stop it, surely he will protect us all from this ridiculous request, won’t he?”  
As the pregnancy progressed, Hagar grew to love the child growing inside of her, and began to despise her mistress. Though Hagar loved Abram, and they now shared a child, he was not her husband. She had never known a man as her husband, a man that she could call her own. To have her innocence taken by a man who would never betroth her made her feel alone, discarded, and unworthy. Even though this was the norm in her culture, it still left her feeling so vulnerable and unprotected. She could not shake the feeling that this was a mistake. Who would Abram choose if there arose a dispute between she and Sarai? Her spirit knew the answer her mind did not want to accept. Abram would choose Sarai. But who would protect her?  
Hagar’s pregnancy delighted Abram. He would frequently lean his ear against her growing stomach to listen.


“I want to hear his first words.” Abram announced to everyone with a smile as he began his daily chores, humming to himself. Hagar did not have the heart to explain to him that the child would not be speaking until well after he was born.  

As the baby grew, Hagar noticed that Sarai would turn away in her presence. It was as if Sarai found the pregnancy, and her, repulsive. Abram began to spend longer days working. He used the remainder of the daylight on the mountain praying and meditating. Often he returned only to eat and to sleep. If Abram happened to notice the growing tension between Sarai and Hagar, he said nothing.  

Hagar’s loneliness grew almost unbearable as the days wore on. What should have been the most joyous time of her life was tainted by feelings of doubt, shame, fear, and anger at her mistress for creating the circumstance that the family found themselves in. During the day Hagar would try to steal away for quiet reflection and would use the time to caress her growing tummy and sing to her baby. Once or twice Sarai caught her sneaking off and demanded an explanation. For days following the offense Sarai kept Hagar so busy that there was no chance of escape.

Sarai’s mistreatment and volatility grew so unbearable that Hagar finally fled. For what seemed like hours she intermittently walked and ran, determined to get as far away as she could from her mistress. She was surprised, in her pregnant condition, how far into the desert she made it before finally collapsing in exhaustion at a spring. Upon stopping, her tears began, and soon Hagar found herself crying uncontrollably, unable to even take a sip of the cool water at the spring because her tears had engulfed her. Her frail body rattled with sobs as she laid on the ground weeping. After several futile minutes of attempting to console herself, Hagar rose to begin her journey again, hoping the walking would take her mind off of the grief. She felt so alone.

“Hagar! Where have you been and where are you going?” said the angel standing in front of her. Startled, Hagar stumbled backwards, knocking into the palm tree, and then tripping over her own foot. She toppled forward, finally coming to rest on her knees. She rubbed her eyes with her sand covered palms and then wiped at them again with the back of her hands. Who is this standing in front of me? In the desert of all places? Are my eyes deceiving me? Hagar stared bewildered at her guest unable to speak. Her tongue felt like lead and her head buzzed with confused thoughts that she attempted to form into a coherent sentence.

“I…I…I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” Hagar stammered, quite unsure of what the angelic being would do to her. She had heard of angelic visitations through the stories of Abram and Sarai, but never thought she would be visited herself. She was no one special and had nothing of consequence to offer the world, why was an angel visiting her?

She sat, quietly perplexed. What does one do in the presence of holiness?

The baby stirred unexpectedly. As she reached to cover her stomach with her hand, the angel spoke, “Go back to your mistress. Do what she says. I will increase your descendents until they will be too many for you to count! Your child shall be a son… Call him ‘God hears,’ because the Lord has seen your unhappiness. Your son will be wild, untamable. He will fight with everyone, and everyone with him.”

Hagar reached out her hand and her countenance lifted. Her heart felt light and her spirit rejuvenated. Joy cascaded over her like a waterfall. For the first time in her life, Hagar had been seen, she felt known, protected, and loved. At this spring, in the middle of the wilderness, God knew her, He had seen her, and He sent an angel to comfort her. She no longer felt invisible. And for the first time, she could see Him.


“You are El Roi… The God who sees me. I have seen the one who sees me… who knows me.” She called the well Beer Lahai Roi, meaning the well of the Living One who sees me. She knew she was no longer alone. But, there was still this matter of strife with those she called “family”… she knew she had to go back…

All writings copyrighted by author 9.17.2007 (c)

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