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  The Desert Spring  

 

"Oh, no, my lord, she cannot stay;
Cast out this bond maid with her mocking child,
For they cannot be heirs with thine and mine."
Abraham was sad, for he had prayed, "O God,
That Ishmael may dwell within thy sight!"
And now the message came to him, "Fear not!
In all that Sarah says list to her voice.
In Isaac shall thy seed be called. Also
I'll make of Hagar's son a nation great,
Because he sprang from thee."

    Then Abraham rose
At early dawn, and lading Egypt's child
With water and with bread, sent her grief-worn
With Ishmael to wander lone within
Beersheba's wilderness. While yet the air
Was cool, and nature locked in the embrace
Of morn, likely the child was blithe and gay,
Unheeding the sad face and drooping form
Of her who doubtless turned from childhood's tents
In tears of woe.

    Thrilled with his Arab blood
He raced along; and thus to fancy's ear
He prattled on: "O mother, do not weep!
The Princess Sarah cannot chide us now.
We're free! I love the wilderness! I love
The earth and sky! Look at those birds,
Far as the fleecy clouds! And here
Are flowers with which to wreathe my bow.
With it I'll bring thee deer and fowl to dress,
When by and by we reach a babbling stream
Where we may safely dwell."

    On, still on,
Through arid plains, with blistering feet,
Beneath a burning sky, they toil along.
The lad no longer talks of birds and flowers,
But begs for water-water just to cool
His parching throat; and likely 'twas that when
Noon's shadows mirrored the encircling hills,
He saw the empty flask, and must at last
Have fainted on the scorching sand.

    We read
That Hagar cast him 'neath a shrub, and then,
Withdrawing quite a space, she prayed, "O God,
Let me not see his death!" and so sank down
Upon the ground to watch him where he lay,
And wept such tears as touched the world on high
With sympathy divine. God heard the lad,
And from his radiant home an angel spake:
"What aileth thee, O Hagar? Rise and take
The lad, and stand him on his feet. I'll make
Of him a nation great." Her eyes were opened;
And she saw a well, from which with joyful haste
She filled her flask and gave the weakling lad
A draught which gave him back to health
And life again.

    Water!-a type of Christ,
God's son, that whosoever will may drink
That everflowing stream of love and live
Eternally! The angel's prophecy foretold
Those countless hordes, those tented caravans,
Whose graceful steeds have plied through centuries past
Those barren, trackless wastes; some of the men
Who, Egypt-bound with spicery and balm,
Halted beside the lonely pit, and bartered there
For that young lad whose coat dyed in the blood
Of kids, made Jacob with wild agony exclaim,
"This is my Joseph's coat! He has, no doubt,
Been rent in twain by beasts!"

    The wanderers soon
Lay down to rest, 'neath starry skies to wait
Another dawn, and on the mother's face
There must have been a light of joy divine;
For had she not held intercourse with Heaven?
Were not its guardian bands around them then
In desert weird and wild?

    Ye weary souls,
Tired travelers on the sands of time,
Trust God and look to him for strength!
The angel of his word speaks faith and peace,
And presses to the thirsting lip the cup
Of immortality!

       - Nannie R. Glass


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