The soft sigh escaped her mouth as one, then two swollen feet gently slipped into the stream’s edge. She closed her eyes. Quieting herself in the cool of the water and the sun trapped heat of the rock upon which she rested. Each a comfort to her aching body. She took a few deep breaths and soaked in each.
Joyfully breaking the stillness her eyelids fluttered open to the sound of her children spilling into the stream. She made the tired chuckle all too familiar to a mother. “There goes peace, but there my delight.” Her eyes softened in a smile as she watched her young sons and daughter stumble and dance into the water. Their laughter like the sparkling drops filling the air.
A soft, warm smile painted her face as she placed her hand on her womb. She felt the jubilee of Elohim’s blessing inside her, anxious to join their siblings. Her heart stirred. She could hardly remember life before her children. A life without the sleepless anxieties or the unmatched heights of gladness.
She loved this time of the evening in this place. The sun about to drop to the land like a ripened fruit. The daily task of gathering the strange provision of Elohim completed. This day’s work double. Enough for the night and for the coming Sabbath. She was ever more grateful for the day of rest as she was increasingly wearied by her coming child. She was so thankful for a place to dwell for so long. For the first time in many years, this place felt like home. Looking around the rocky hills and the tall grasses along the water bank she was flushed with an ache for home. Her mind drifted to the days of her youth when she too would splash into the life-giving waters of the river. Colorful fish and frogs darting by her legs. Closing her eyes she inhaled with a dreamy anticipation that she would enjoy the scent of that place. The pure, white lotus. Abundantly painted about the edges of the river and the shadows of the palaces. Where now tread the feet of young girls too young to have known the terrors and wonders of the deliverance of the children of Israel. “Was this the only way to go? Could freedom, dominion and peace not be found in the land of our birth?” Whispered her heart.
“Could this be home?” She wondered. “Might your people stay and know this place? Could your pillar of smoke stay every day, your tower of fire every night and not lead us through barren places? Happiness can be had here. A life of stability. Surely this is good enough.”
The bank began to fill with promised seed of Abraham. Cleansing and refreshing themselves for the coming day of rest. She chuckled to herself, an echo of Sarah’s laugh. “Who can comprehend your promises, Adonai? Who are we to you?” Again her child jumped within. This, the first of her children who would be born out from under the whip of their oppressors. But to what end? For a life of vagrancy? Wandering the land like sheep and goats.
The sky began to melt. Shades of the fruits she had tasted in the springs of long ago. She brushed her chin, her mind teased at the memory of the sweet juices that once trickled down. “Are we going home? Is there a long rest? Will You always deliver us from our enemies? Can I look into my children’s eyes and tell them with faith in my heart that You are leading us to the promise?”
The first stars began to pierce the violet expanse. She called to her children. Each named for a promise of Elohim. They gathered to her and helped her from the rock. Making their way to the tent they could not help but look with fear and awe at the swirling, luminous majesty that descended down over the tabernacle in the middle of their transient city. A glorious shepherd's staff to guide and guard His children. At the entrance of her tent she paused. For a tender moment, her heart was stilled from the aches of the past and the tremblings of the future. And there it offered up on the alter it’s silent hopes, it’s quiet gratitude. For the promised.