“When she had finished giving him water, she said, ‘I will also water your camels until they have finished drinking.’ And she hurried and emptied her pitcher into the watering channel and ran again to the well to draw more — she drew enough for all of his camels. And the man stared at her. And he was reduced to silence wondering if Yahweh had brought success to his path or not.”
Notice how often the words “hurried” and “ran” (as well as their synonyms) show up to describe Rebekah’s activity. There is no question that she is an industrious young woman who is quick to serve others before she serves herself. As we mentioned above, she shows hospitality by offering to water his camels as well as to share water with him and thus fills up the watering trough for the camels to drink, something that would have taken repeated trips with her pitcher to complete.
And the man stares in amazement. The Hebrew word that is used here is quite unusual and its root, hDaDv (shaah) is only found 7 times in the Hebrew Old Testament; in four of those uses, it is translated as “laying desolate” or “destroying” a city or a region and twice it is used to refer to the roaring of waves or thunder. This is the only spot it is translated as “stare” or “gaze” or “watch.” Because Hebrew is a language that has been influenced by a number of sources, it is not that surprising to see a verb being rendered in a variety of ways, but I think that the choice of this particular word in this verse is intentional and designed to show us the stunned and perhaps overwhelmed response of Eliezer, the servant.
You know, as Christians we pray and we pray for God to move and act in our lives, but sometimes I don’t know that we really pray with the expectation that God will move in our lives in a profound way. Eliezer has been praying that God would reveal to him the woman for whom he was sent and he set down for God an identifying sign (that she would give him water and care for his camels). God brought her out, Eliezer thought it might be she by her character, and then when the “sign” was asked for she delivered. God profoundly answered Eliezer’s prayer and I believe that Eliezer is likely overwhelmed by God’s grace and providence here. It is not simply that Eliezer is sitting there in calm silence calculating whether this is the girl, but he is likely shaking like a leaf — like a city that is being leveled by an earthquake or like a man unnerved by the roar of thunder. Here he is witnessing firsthand the magnificence of God with respect to answering prayer and he needs to take a minute or two to collect himself as he watches this girl that God has sent.
Friends, God gives us accounts like this not just so we can know the history of his people, but so that we can be reminded that we serve the very same God who proved himself faithful generation after generation. And loved ones, if he has been faithful to our ancestors in the faith, he will be faithful to us as well. What a mighty God we serve, indeed. Why is it then that we so often pray without the expectation that those prayers will be acted upon. We worry and fret over things and try and work them out to the best of our human design. Loved ones, there is no need to worry for our God has held his people in his hand since the beginning and he is not about to stop now. In addition, while we are commended in scripture to work and to be about the task of laboring for the kingdom, why is it that we settle for what man can do and neglect the awesome reality of what God can and will do. May we pray in faith, but may we also remember that the Christian faith is not a blind faith, but it is a faith based on expectation and the anticipation of what a living God will do in and around our lives.