Hagar says of God, "You are El-roi " – the God who sees me.  Genesis 16:13


Make no mistake, Hagar is the heroine of the passage we are looking at this weekend. Today Abraham and Sarah would rightly go to prison in scandal, convicted of child sex trafficking: and yes, whilst we can speak of the cultural differences of space and time the Bible is honest about the mess they have made of things. Last week we saw God reveal himself to Abraham as “promise-maker”, and this week, despite the mess, “promise-keeper,” as Isaac is born.


But Hagar, seemingly excluded, twice encounters God in the desert as the one who sees her in her distress, and so she names God El-roi, the God who sees me. Perhaps you’ve heard the joke about the parrot that says to the burglar, “Jesus is watching you.” Perhaps we used those words pejoratively to our children, as a warning, but there is no sense of that here: God sees Hagar in her mess and need, none of which is of her doing, and meets her, literally, as the water of life (Gen 21:19). 


On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’   John 7.37-38


If you are going into Liverpool do make time to see the spectacular Peace Dove installation by Peter Walker at the Cathedral, accompanied by a soundscape by composer David Harper – the installation will be in place until 31 August. More details here:

Sam and I picked up this prayer at the installation: 


O brooding Spirit, in soaring flight over stormy seas, teach us to pray. 

Carry our cries and hopes to God’s heart. 

Bring us to firm ground when we lose our moorings. 

Come make your home within us. 

Give us new life. Inspire us. 

Through Jesus, who laid down his life so that we might rise up, 

our peace now and for ever.