Friday, December 2, 2011

Women of the Bible Encouragement Series: Rebekah ~ Ready to Run

     I squirmed in my perch atop a brownish-red camel. Each rolling step of the itchy, malodorous animal soaked me in gratitude that I was no longer afoot. By a slight miscalculation, I had landed smack in the middle of the desert. (Apparently I need to study up on my maps of ancient Israel.) Lucky for me, a caravan happened along and offered me a ride—the caravan bringing Rebekah to Isaac, her intended. I shifted again and squinted against hot sunlight as Rebekah came bounding up beside me. Her maid, an older woman approached a bit slower on her own ugly, smelly camel—two attributes she didn’t seem to mind.

     “So how did you happen to be back there, alone….with no sustenance or water?” Rebekah asked. Her eyes burned bright with curiosity and she grinned at me, hair whipped mercilessly by dust and wind. “Are you mad or simply foolish?”

     The gray-haired maid’s mouth fell open. “Bekah! Remember your manners. You are to be married soon. It’s time you put away your girlish boldness.”

     Rebekah still stared at me, waiting.

     “I um…” I stammered, “made a mistake.”

     Her eyes narrowed with her smile. “You’re not a runaway servant are you?”

     At this, the maid scoured me with her suspicious perusal.

     “No!” I responded a bit too quickly. "Good heavens, no. I lost my way." I didn’t know what the usual punishment was for runaways, but given these ladies' reaction it wasn't good and I wasn’t eager to find out. "What about you?” My heart picked up speed. I couldn’t wait for her side of the story. “Why are you traveling?”

     “I…” she began, then took a deep breath and let it out on a laugh, “I am going to meet my husband.” She turned to me, almost smug. “Surprised?” She faced forward again, her bearing that of a desert princess. “I’ve never seen him, but since the beginning of this journey, I’ve wrung from his servants every single detail about his character and his person." Her brows rose and lips that were used to smiling curved upward on one side.
     “He is a man of 40 years, of medium stature, strong, and with a kind spirit. His mother died not very long ago. His father is old and would see his son wed before his death.”
She turned and giggled. “His servants will not tell me whether or not he is handsome. They are all men and say they cannot tell, but that he carries himself with confidence. I do not think they would know how to tell a handsome man if they saw one.”

     I smiled. “How did this come about—you being fetched, I mean?”

     She shook the bright scarf from her dark hair. “You would never believe me if I told it to you,” her tilted head assessed me, “but I will tell you anyway.” She pointed far ahead. “Do you see the man at the front?”

     I followed the line of her finger to where an old man sat a camel as if he was born riding. Once in a long while he gave a calm order and the man next to him rode ahead to relieve the front scout. It reminded me of scenes I’d read about wagon trains on the Oregon Trail.

     “He is Eliezer--head servant in the house of Abraham, my husband’s father. He came to the well outside of my village about three weeks ago. He was tired and thirsty, and in need of a place to stay when he came to the well on the outside of town, where women draw water at evening. When I filled my pitcher and hefted it to my shoulder, ready to carry it home, Eliezer ran to meet me and asked of me a drink of water. I saw his camels were weary and, as soon as he drank, emptied my pitcher into the camel’s trough and ran to fetch more water until the animals were done drinking.”

     “Didn’t you wear yourself out?” I asked and glanced around, amazed. I couldn’t imagine toting water for all these camels. Each fat, fuzzy creature looked like it could guzzle a river and still be thirsty.

     “Oh, it took a long while, but I was used to watering our animals there as well as fetching water daily. It was not my first time to the well.
     “After the men and livestock drank their fill," she fingered thick, gold bangles on each wrist, "Eliezer gave me heavy, precious jewelry and asked my father’s name and requested lodging for the night. When he learned I was his master’s distant kin, he dropped his head and worshiped the Lord." 
     She laughed, a fun, boisterous sound. "I ran home faster than I thought my legs could carry me and shared the news of what the stranger had said and that he was coming to stay. My parents recognized the name of Abraham as he is my grandfather’s brother.
     “When my brother, Laban, saw the earring and bracelets on my hands, he ran to the well to greet Eliezer and urge him to stay with us, probably hoping to be rewarded for his greeting with a gift like mine. Eliezar came with him, but would not so much as eat before he delivered his message and his reason for coming—to find a wife for his master’s son.
     “He said he had prayed that the girl whom the Lord had chosen for Isaac would not only give him a drink when he came to the well, but also offer to water his camels. My father said it was a sign from the Lord and consented that I would be Isaac’s wife. The next morning, my mother and brother urged the man to stay at least ten more days, but he was eager to bring me home to his master and have done with his errand. Mother and Laban were not pleased with this, but they asked my opinion and of course I agreed to leave right away.” She sighed. “I’ve dreamed of grand adventure and faraway places since childhood and never thought it would happen to me, yet here I am.” 
     Curiosity bled into her wistful expression and she stretched tall in her seat and peered ahead. “We should be nearing Isaac’s fields.” 

     The camels picked up speed as if smelling the sweet scent of home and a cloud of dust filled the place Rebekah had occupied. She slowed beside the head servant and asked a question. She stretched a graceful hand toward the fields where a man stood alone, then she whipped her veil over her head to cover her face and jumped off her camel, agile as a deer. The man began walking toward us. It was Isaac.

     My stomach grew nervous and I felt Rebekah’s anticipation. Was he as good as his servants had said? Would he love her? Was she doing the right thing by marrying this older man, sight unseen?

     When Eliezer had told Isaac all the things that he had done, the master turned to my veiled, newly found friend and smiled at her for a long time, then took her hand and led her home.

The Bible gives us so many windows into Rebekah's life. It was hard to choose which time of her life to spotlight, but there is so much symbolism in these first glimpses of her, so today, the beginning is where we meet her. Check out Gen. 24 for the real story. One of my favorite parts of the whole passage is in Gen. 24:67 where it says "...and he loved her:" It's such a sweet, sigh-worthy way for God to end and begin a great love story, don't you think? 

Also, did you notice how many times people were running in this story?? Eliezer RAN to Rebekah. She RAN to fill her pot and water the camels. She RAN home. Her brother RAN back to meet Eliezer and bring him home. She JUMPED off her camel when Isaac came into view. When they knew what to do, they did it not just willingly, but eagerly and with excitement. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we had this type of zeal? 

The lesson this story brings to mind is threefold: stay willing(Eliezer loved his master and agreed to travel a long distance, 3 weeks or more, to fulfill his master's wishes.), stay watchful (Rebekah noticed the camels were tired and thirsty because she was attentive to the things around her, thereby fulfilling the sign Eliezer prayed for from God.), and stay at the Well (Had Rebekah decided not to carry through her daily, mundane but necessary chore of fetching water, she might not have been there that day, would not have built the strength to carry water to those camels and Eliezer might have chosen a different girl to be wife to the father of Israel. Stay faithful in the 'everyday' areas of serving God. He may be preparing you for something great.). 

Our next post, Dec. 16, we'll be looking at Ruth, suggested by Learning to Fly and Aliene. Thanks for reading!


  1. Natalie, as I have said are VERY talented in writing! I find myself forgetting that a very young (in MY eyes) lady is the writer of these stories. You write the kind of things that are easy to read and just seem to "flow". I've read a lot of published authors that do not have the gift of writing you have. I look forward to reading about Ruth soon!

    God bless you!

    Mrs. Marilyn

  2. Mrs. Marilyn, your comment nearly gave me a case of 'happy tears'. Thank you so much!!


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