“Lord, God of my master Abraham,” he prayed, “make this happen for me today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. I am standing here at the spring where the daughters of the men of the town are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I say, ‘Please lower your water jug so that I may drink,’ and who responds, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels also’ — let her be the one you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah — daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor — coming with a jug on her shoulder. Now the girl was very beautiful, a virgin — no man had been intimate with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me have a little water from your jug.”
She replied, “Drink, my lord.” She quickly lowered her jug to her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I’ll also draw water for your camels until they have had enough to drink.” She quickly emptied her jug into the trough and hurried to the well again to draw water. She drew water for all his camels while the man silently watched her to see whether or not the Lord had made his journey a success.
As the camels finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing half a shekel, and for her wrists two bracelets weighing ten shekels of gold. “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” She also said to him, “We have plenty of straw and feed and a place to spend the night.” Then the man knelt low, worshiped the Lord, and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld his kindness and faithfulness from my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
Genesis 24:12-17 (CSB)
Before she became the mother of Israel, Rebekah was a simple woman living in Nahor. Abraham sent his servant to find a wife among his family’s people. His servant specifically asked God for a sign of hospitality from a woman in order to know which woman to choose as Isaac’s wife. Without knowing any of that, Rebekah was kind and generous, proving to Abraham’s servant that she would make a fine wife for Isaac. She showed incredible hospitality to Abraham’s servant, giving him a drink from the well, watering his camels, and inviting him to stay with her family.
Abraham’s servant was concerned about finding the right wife for his master’s son, and he was unsure how he would even find one option. He’d been given some strict parameters for this wife-finding expedition, and he was nervous. What if I can’t locate Abraham’s family? What if I can’t find a woman willing to travel so far? What if her family doesn’t trust me? What if I can’t find someone good enough? Rebekah’s kindness was a specific answer to prayer — not just that Isaac would have a good wife, but also that the servant would be able to complete Abraham’s mission successfully.
Abraham’s servant did not have reason to worry as he did. God was guiding him the entire time, leading him straight to the woman He had chosen for Isaac. And Rebekah was lovely inside and out, just as kind as she was beautiful. When the servant picked her out of the crowd to ask for water, she didn’t hesitate. She offered him water and then, going above and beyond, offered to get water for his camels as well. When he boldly asked if her father had room for guests, she eagerly offered their home. And when he finally revealed the reason for his visit, explaining that she would have to leave her home and travel a great distance to meet and marry Isaac, she agreed. And as we learn in Genesis 24:67, Isaac indeed loved her deeply. More than that, we know that their children’s lineage eventually led to the coming of Christ!
Do you ever get “weird” ideas that pop up out of nowhere? Or feel a “random” nudge — to offer help, to share an encouraging word or meal, to invite someone you just met into your event, your home, your life? What if those nudges aren’t actually out of nowhere? What if they’re prompts from God, preparing you to meet someone’s needs, to be the answer to his or her prayers?
What if, by obeying God and offering courageous kindness, you are in turn as blessed as the one you bless?
While it’s not always easy, hospitality is an incredible gift that God’s people can gladly and easily give one another, whether it is as simple as a drink of water or a place to stay the night. Rebekah’s hospitality was exactly the kindness Abraham’s servant needed, and like so many other stories in the Bible, it was yet another way God was preserving the line of Christ unbeknownst to the people involved.
Sometimes what seem like the smallest acts of hospitality are incredible gifts to those who receive them, and even impact the course of salvation history.
This was written by Mary Carver, as published in Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional from the (in)courage community.
What if, by obeying God and offering courageous kindness, you are in turn as blessed as the one you bless? #courageouskindness -@marycarver: Click To Tweet