Bible Snaps: Episode 10 … Wilderness Woman

Thrillers, Chillers, & Sci-Fi Killers. Whether or not you believe the bible is true, it contains stories that trigger imagination.

Wilderness Woman

Once again, I’m a woman tossed out like yesterday’s garbage. The man who is responsible insists, “God is with you.”

“How can you do this thing?” I glance toward our son wishing he was out of earshot.

His father is firm. “It’s for the better.”

“The better for who? We will not survive.”

“God is with you. Remember his promise to you.” Abraham will not meet my gaze but works to secure the bread and water onto my shoulders.

I grab his hands. “You must look at me. I’m the mother of your firstborn. Without your protection, he is dead. You know this. It’s unfair that his immaturity should lead to such a punishment.”

Abraham keeps his head turned as he pulls away from my grasp. “He’s old enough to act like a man, and now he must do so.”

His last words still ring cold in my ears. I think about them and wonder what it is to act in power like a man.

I only know what it is to have influence as a woman. Fury and fussing have shaped my world. It is because of Sarah that my pleas are ignored in this act of cowardice by Abraham. It’s shameful to be treated this way.

“Yes, it’s shameful,” a voice whispers. “But think of it. Your punishment must be deserved because your master is well known to be favored by God. Accept the truth.  You are worthless. You are so stupid to believe otherwise.”

The whispering voice makes me angry, and my fury drives me on. At first I pretend it’s not there, and I allow Ishmael to speak ignorantly of a new life we will make in Beersheba.

“It’ll be great, mom.”

I give warm words of hope, but inside I grow cold. It seems that any love and care I thought Abraham had for us is a mirage.

After a while of confident talk, Ishmael falls back into naming all the wrongs we have endured. Now he speaks the truth. If it weren’t for my fear of surviving this journey, I’d feel happy to be free after years of serving Sarah.

I was given to Sarah as a gift from Pharaoh after Abraham passed through Egypt. It seems I’m destined to always be part of another’s fortune. It’s my lot in this life to be consumed but never loved and cherished. When Ishmael came, I thought my destiny had changed, but now I know I was mistaken. Although he’s my greatest joy, Sarah’s sarcasm toward me since his birth is continual. Her attempts to make me look disloyal come fresh with each new day. Keeping the peace grows impossible since Ishmael takes note of every favoritism concerning Isaac, and Abraham plays the coward when it comes to my mistress.

When we stop to rest, Ishmael takes the water bottle from me but only after I’ve had a sip. We vow not to look back. Instead we focus on the horizon ahead of us. There in Beersheba, we’ll find a new family to serve. Ishmael is strong, and I’ve worked as a handmaiden for many years.

My spirit moves between hope and despair, but as the day wears on and the sun beats down relentlessly, the rocks and hills seem less hospitable. The occasional brush patch is never tall enough for true shade.

We walk through a world that seems endlessly similar. Dry stubbly hills protrude in repetitious pattern. My mind is on high alert. If we become lost, all our strength and optimism will be no match for this vast wilderness that waits eagerly to consume our flesh and spit out our bones to become more rubble on the path.

“Are you sure we are heading the right way?” My son’s voice is anxious.

“Abraham’s directions were clear. We should reach Beersheba by nightfall.”

Night comes, but there is no sign of dwellings on the horizon.

We limit ourselves to half sips of the water, hoping to make it last longer.

The ground is our bed, and stones are our pillows. We lie close in the dark. Knowing I feel cold easily, Ishmael insists on sharing his cloak.

I’m so tired that my usual nighttime hours of fretting are shortened to a single thought. We have to reach Beersheba. It’s the only place for miles that has water.

We have to reach Beersheba. It’s the only place for miles that has water.

We have to reach Beersheba. It’s the only place for miles that has water.

A day and a half later, I know we’re lost.

Water is all I can think about. Neither one of us talks. I can hardly pick up my feet, and my head pounds.

Occasionally, Ismael rushes ahead because he believes he sees a well, but then when he reaches the spot, he discovers the illusion and collapses. Then he does not move until I prod him to get up.

Finally, I know we’re finished. Still, I cannot bear to see my beloved child die. Abraham is wrong. Ishmael is not a man. He is my child, and I lay him down to sleep under some shrubs.

Then I move away, but soon I hear him crying for me. His pleas move me greatly, but for love, I’m immovable. I sob with my face in the dust while his wailing shreds my heart.

“See? It is finished. You are done and so is he. You are not worthy to live. So now you will die.” The whispering voice mocks even in my pain.

“Oh God, shut up!” I scream at the voice and for the life I’m losing. “My son! My son! My son!”

Salty tears sting my eyes. I close them to let my life slip away.

That’s when I hear the other voice speaking. It roars as a mighty rushing water.

What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of your son where he is. Get up and support him with your hand for I intend to make him a great nation.”

My eyes are pulled open, and I’m raised to see the source.

There is a well of water.

Is this a dream?

I grab the bottle and stagger forward, falling over the stony edge where I fumble to fill the vessel. Then I rush to my child.

Lifting his limp head, I pour the water over his lips. His eyes pop open, and he gulps eagerly but starts to choke.

“Slowly son. Slowly.”

He mistakes my caution for rationing and pushes my hand away saying, “You finish it.”

“No need,” I laugh. “There’s more wherethis came from. God has given us a well.”

“A well? Where? Why does he do this even though I’ve cursed him?” He speaks aloud the question that consumes me.

“I don’t know, but I’m certain about one thing. He’s very powerful. He sees, hears, knows, and gives generously to all. Even in our wilderness, he is here. He told me you will become the father of a great nation.”

“But that’s exactly what he told Abraham he would do with Isaac. How is this true?”

“I don’t know. I only know that he spoke to me, and he has rescued us.”

Ishmael smiles. “If that’s not a dream, then we will succeed.”

“Succeed in what my son?”

“Succeed in bringing vengeance against those who wrong us.”

I sigh. Ishmael will not easily give up his manly goal. “Hush now. Save your strength. You must believe me when I tell you that this god is not ours to manipulate.”

I return to the well to fill our bottle again. In its depths, I have found my fortune, a god who sees and hears a wilderness woman like me.

His refreshment is good, cold, and abundant.

So, I drink.

 

This story inspired by Genesis, chapters,  16 & 21.

My new blog series, Bible Snaps, are short fictionalized accounts of the more chilling stories in the Bible. Some are even “science fiction” type stories that reference biblical disasters that seem to conflict with the laws of nature.

If you follow along, there’s a couple things you should know.

My “Bible Snaps” aren’t an attempt to settle the question, “is the bible true?” Each person must decide that on their own. My goal is to jump into the head of bible characters and try to imagine living the experience described in the story and then use fresh and personal words to tell it.

My other goal is to keep these posts “snappy” quick. In doing this, I might only “snap” a portion of the bible story to tell, but I’ll always give you the bible reference so you can read the actual bible text that inspired me.

There are also other reading options on my website.

If you don’t like my Bible Snaps Stories, then check out “Five,” my medical Sci-Fi supernatural thriller story. All 67 episodes (blog posts) are now available, and if you read them from beginning to end, you’ll have read the entire book and will be ready for my sequel, “Six.”

If you don’t like “Five”, then read my other short stories on this blog- (search word, “un-proverbial”) or Psalms blog posts. All of these were posted before January 2015.

Just read me. I’d be honored to have YOU in my audience!

One final thought.

Why do I re-tell the “bad” or chilling parts of the Bible?

We live in rough times. Many people suffer under injustice. It’s good to see how the Bible, an old book that many value as true, contains many helpful stories of people who were oppressed yet managed to live, survive, and thrive.

Don’t take my word or anyone else’s word about the Bible. Give it a read for YOURSELF. You may be surprised by what you find.

Thanks,

Ann

 

 

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