Genesis 21:19
Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
A Welcome DiscoverySpurgeon, Charles HaddonGenesis 21:19
Christian CultureThe Homiletic ReviewGenesis 21:19
Eyes OpenedSpurgeon, Charles HaddonGenesis 21:19
Eyes OpenedSpurgeon, Charles HaddonGenesis 21:19
Hagar in the WildernessC. Bradley, M. A.Genesis 21:19
Hagar in the WildernessJ.F. Montgomery Genesis 21:19
Providence TimelyFlavel, JohnGenesis 21:19
Strange ProvidencesGenesis 21:19
The Hidden Well DiscoveredE. R. Conder, D. D.Genesis 21:19
Wells in Unexpected PlacesGenesis 21:19
The Separation of the Bondwoman's So, from the Promised SeedR.A. Redford Genesis 21:8-21
God's Appearance to HagarR.A. Redford Genesis 21:17-19
And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. Hagar in the wilderness. Why? She had no pleasure in her home; would not accept her position there. Hence Ishmael's mocking. Compare working of pride in Eden - "Ye shall be as gods;" and its result - Adam and Eve driven out. Observe - a soul despising the position of a child of God is driven into the wilderness by its own act. Pride rebels against terms of salvation (Romans 10:3)-a free gift to sinners seeking it as such (Mark 2:17). Hagar felt her misery, like many who find no peace. "All is vanity." She sat down and wept. Did she cry to God? He had met her there before. Past mercies should move to trust (Psalm 42:6). But pride and unbelief hinder prayer (Exodus 17:3-6). But God had not forgotten her (cf. Matthew 18:11). "What aileth thee?" Compare our Lord's dealing with those he helped.

1. Himself taking the first step.

2. Requiring a confession of their want.

3. Rousing expectation (John 4:14; John 7:37).

I. THE WELL WAS NEAR HER, BUT SHE SAW IT NOT. So is it with the water of life. Why are so many without peace? The well is beside them; the sound of the gospel is familiar to them. The Bible is read in their hearing, but it speaks nothing to them (2 Corinthians 3:15). Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14). His blood the ransom for all (1 John 1:7). We have not to go to seek a Savior (Romans 10:6-8). No sin too deep for cleansing, no sorrow too great for comfort; nothing required to give a right to trust him (Isaiah 55:1; Luke 15:2). Why without peace? The eyes are closed to the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14). Human teaching cannot give life (Ezekiel 37:8). What is wanted is not a new fountain, but opened eyes. And it is disbelief of this that keeps so many in anxiety. To them the well is not there; they want God to give it. They look for something they are to do to find a Savior. Important to know what is wanted - spiritual discernment. To many this seems a mere fancy; but they whose eyes are opened know it to be a passing from darkness to light (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10). Words often read become full of new meaning.

II. GOD OPENED HER EYES. It is blindness that causes trouble; but as blind cannot see by his own will, so neither can the unspiritual. The way of salvation is before him, but while it commends itself to his reason it brings him no joy. Are we then without effort to sit still? No; all is ready on God's part. "Wilt thou be made whole?" Want of will alone hinders. Often men would like to drink, but not at God's fountain. Make an effort to believe, and power will be given.

III. WHAT SHE SAW. The well of life; the revelation of Jesus Christ to the soul - this is peace. Not our own powers or wisdom, not our own holiness or advance in grace; but trust in him. No more fears. True, the wilderness is there; the work has to be done, temptations overcome, sorrows borne, graces cultivated; but we can do all through Christ. Now troubles become helps (Psalm 84:6), for they make us flee to Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). And who can count the blessings revealed to him whose eyes are opened? A Father in everything - protection, teaching, guidance. Everything surrounding him, every event that happens to him, are inlets of ever increasing knowledge of God, whom to know is life eternal. - M.

God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.
In this hidden well, which Ishmael's prayer uncovered, lies many a true lesson, if only we have the right sort of pitcher to dip and draw.

I. How CAME THE WELL TO BE THERE, JUST WHERE AND WHEN IT WAS WANTED? The Arab shepherds who dug it never meant it for wandering travellers, but for their own flocks. God guided the steps of Hagar to it. Life is full of hidden wells — stored-up blessings, ready at the right moment to supply the answer to prayer. God foresees our prayers as well as our necessities.

II. OUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAY IS NOT OUR OWN GOODNESS, BUT GOD'S. We plead not the name of Abraham, or of any earthly parent or friend, but the name of Jesus, God's own dear Son.

III. Learn from this story NOT TO THINK LITTLE THINGS OF NO IMPORTANCE, and not to be afraid to pray to God about little things as well as great. There are two reasons which prove that God does not disdain to attend little things:(1) He has made many more little things than great, and has made the greatest things to depend on the least;(2) God is so great, that the difference between what we call great and little is to Him as nothing; and He is so wise, that nothing — not a thought or atom — is small enough to escape His eye.

IV. Prayer itself is a hidden well; a secret source of strength,and joy, and wisdom, not only in times of trouble, but always.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

The Homiletic Review.

1. Physical

2. Intellectual.

3. Spiritual.


1. Creator.

2. Providence.

3. Conscience.

4. Revelation.

5. Redemption.


(The Homiletic Review.)



1. It was despair in opposition to God's plain promises. "Let me not see the death of the child," she says. Why, the Lord Himself had spoken to her from heaven years ago, and told her that that very child should live to be a man and a powerful and great one. And this promise He had renewed but a short time before to Abraham, who would naturally mention the renewal of it to her. But in this hour of seeming danger, Jehovah's words are nothing to her; she either does not think of or she disbelieves them. "My child must die," she says, and east him down to die. How like ourselves in some of our trials!

2. The despair of Hagar was despair in opposition to her own experience. This was not the first time she had been in a desert (see Genesis 16). And there, we might have expected, the Lord would have left her to reap the fruit of her rashness; but not so. He is observant of her there. In admiration of the Lord's goodness, she calls the place where she had experienced it by a name implying, "Thou God seest me." But this is now clean forgotten. Ourselves again, brethren. "I know whom I have believed. The experience I myself have had in days past of my Saviour's love and faithfulness encourages me, nay, compels me, to trust Him now." The Lord brings us into a desert and appears for us there. "I can never forget this," we say. "The remembrance of this mercy will be a stay to me all my life long." But we get into the desert again, and what do we say then? All the many proofs we have had of the Lord's power and faithfulness, are as much out of our thoughts as though we had never had one of them.

3. Hagar's despair was despair in opposition to fact also. It was despair in the very midst of abundance.

III. Let us look now at THE INTERPOSITION OF GOD IN BEHALF OF THIS DESPAIRING WOMAN, the mercy He showed her. It consisted, you observe, in this one simple thing, He "opened her eyes." He did no more for her, for no more was needed. Wondering, happy woman! we say; but not more wondering or more happy than many a despairing sinner has been, when the Lord has opened his eyes and discovered to him His great salvation, His abounding mercy, the fountain of living waters He has provided for him in Jesus Christ.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

We find a multitude of Providences so timed to a minute, that, had they fallen out ever so little sooner or later, they had signified but little in comparison of what they now do. Certainly, it cannot be casualty, but counsel, that so exactly nicks the opportunity. Contingencies keep no rules. How remarkable to this purpose was the tidings brought to Saul, that the Philistines had invaded the land just as he was ready to grasp the prey (1 Samuel 23:27). The angel calls to Abraham, and shows him another sacrifice, just when his hand was giving the fatal stroke to Isaac (Genesis 22:10, 11). A well of water is discovered to Hagar just when she had left the child as not able to see its death (Genesis 21:16-19). Rabshakeh meets with blasting providence, hears a rumour that frustrated his design, just when ready to give the shock against Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:7, 8). So when Haman's plot against the Jews was ripe, and all things ready for execution, "On that night could not the king sleep" (Esther 6:1). When the horns are ready to gore Judah, immediately carpenters are prepared to fray them away (Zechariah 1:18-21). How remarkable was the relief of Rochelle by a shoal of fish that came into the harbour when they were ready to perish with hunger, such as they never observed either before or after that time. Mr. Dodd could not go to bed one night, but feels a strong impulse to visit (though unreasonable) a neighbouring gentleman, and just as he came he meets him at his door, with a halter in his pocket, just going to hang himself. Dr. Tare and his wife, in the Irish rebellion, flying through the woods with a sucking child, which was just ready to expire, the mother, going to rest it upon a rock, puts her hand upon a bottle of warm milk, by which it was preserved. A good woman, from whose mouth I received it, being driven to a great extremity, all supplies failing, was exceedingly plunged into unbelieving doubts and fears, not seing whence supplies would come; when lo! in the nick of time, turning some things in a chest, she unexpectedly lights upon a piece of gold, which supplied her present wants till God opened another door of supply. If these things fall out casually, how is it that they observe the very juncture of time so exactly? This is become proverbial in Scripture. "In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen" (Genesis 22:14).

( J. Flavel..)

"Suppose you were in a smith's shop, and there should see several sorts of tools, some crooked, some bowed, others hooked, would you," asks Spencer, "condemn all these things for nought because they do not look handsome? The smith makes use of them all for the doing of his work. Thus it is with the providences of God: they seem to us to be very crooked and strange, yet they all carry on God's work."

I. Taking HAGAR'S CASE first, I shall address myself to certain unconverted ones who are in a hopeful condition.

1. Taking Hagar's case as the model to work upon, we may see in her and in many like her a preparedness for mercy. In many respects she was in a fit state to become an object of mercy's help. She had a strong sense of need. The water was spent in the bottle, she herself was ready to faint, and her child lay at death's door; and this sense of need was attended by vehement desires. It is quite certain that, in Hagar's case, the will was right enough with reference to the water. It would have been preposterous indeed to say to Hagar, "If there be water, are you willing to drink?" "Willing?" she would say; "look at my parched lips, hear my dolorous cries, look at my poor punting, dying child!" And so with you; if I were to propose to you the question, "Are you willing to be saved?" you might look at me in the face and say, "Willing! oh, sir, I have long passed beyond that stage I am punting, groaning, thirsting, fainting, dying to find Christ." All this is hopeful, but I must again remind you that to will to be rich does not make a man rich, and that to will to be saved cannot in itself save you.

2. In the second place, mercy was prepared for Hagar, and is prepared for those in a like state. The water was near to Hagar; and so is Christ near to you, my dear friend, this morning. The mercy of God is not a thing to be sought for up yonder among the stars, nor to be discovered in the depths; it is nigh thee, it is even in thy mouth and in thy heart.

3. We pass on, then, in the third place, to notice that although Hagar was prepared and mercy was prepared, yet there was an impediment in the way, for she could not see the water. There is also an impediment in your way. Hagar had a pair of bright beaming eyes, I will be bound to say, and yet she could not see the water; and men may have first-rate understandings, but not understand that simple thing — faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Simple trust in Jesus has this difficulty in it, that it is not difficult, and therefore the human mind refuses to believe that God can intend to save us by so simple a plan. What blindness is this! So foolish and so fatal. The main reason I think, however, why some do not attain early to peace is because they are looking for more than they will get, and thus their eyes are dazzled with fancies. Again, I am afraid some persons, with the water at their feet, do not drink it because of the bad directions that are given by ministers.

4. I feel certain that there are some here upon whom the Lord intends to work this morning; so we will speak, in the fourth place, upon the divine removal of the impediment. Hagar's blindness was removed by God. No one else could have removed it. God must open a man's eyes to understand practically what belief in Jesus Christ is. But while this was divinely removed, it was removed instrumentally. An angel spake out of heaven to Hagar. It matters little whether it be an angel or a man, it is the Word of God which removes this difficulty.

II. Oh that the Spirit of God would give me power from on high while I try to talk to the saints from THE SECOND CASE, viz., that of the apostles in Luke 24:31. This is no Hagar, but "Cleopas and another disciple." They ought to have known Jesus for these reasons.

1. They were acquainted with Him, they had been with Him for years in public and in private, they had heard His voice so often that they ought to have recollected its tones.

2. They ought to have known Him, because He was close to them; He was walking with them along the same road, He was not up on a mountain at a distance.

3. They ought to have seen Him, because they had the Scriptures to reflect His image, and yet how possible it is for us to open that precious Book and turn over page after page of it and not see Christ.

4. What is more, these disciples ought to have seen Jesus, for they had the Scriptures opened to them.

5. There was another reason why the disciples ought to have seen Him, namely, that they had received testimonies from others about Him. Now what is the reason for this? Why do we not see Him? I think it must be ascribed in our case to the same as in theirs, namely, our unbelief. They evidently did not expect to see Him, and therefore they did not discover Him.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. It often happens that when we are in trouble and distress, THE SUPPLY OF OUR NEED, AND THE CONSOLATION FOR OUR SORROW ARE VERY NEAR AT HAND. There is a well close to us at our feet, if we could but see it.

1. How true this often is in providence with Christian people. We have known them to be in sore alarm at some approaching ill, or in the most fearless distress on account of some troublous circumstances which already surround them. They have said, "We don't know what we shall do to-morrow." They have inquired, "Who shall roll us away the stone?" They wot not that God has already provided for to-morrow, and has rolled the stone away. If they knew all, they would understand that their trial is purely imaginary. They are making it by their unbelief. It has no other existence than that which their distrust of God gives to it.

2. Though this is true of providence, I prefer rather to deal with the matter of spiritual blessings. It often happens that souls are disturbed in spiritual matters about things that ought not to disturb them. For instance, a large proportion of spiritual distresses are occasioned by a forgetfulness or an ignorance of the doctrines of the Bible. Sometimes, holy Scripture has its well near to the troubled heart, not so much in the form of doctrine, as in the form of promise. There was never a trouble yet in human experience among God's people, but what there was a promise to meet it. At other times the well appears in the form neither of a doctrine nor of a promise, but in the shape of an experience of some one else. Perhaps nothing more effectually comforts, under the blessing of God, than the discovery that some undoubtedly good man has passed through the same state of heart in which we are found. And, beloved, sometimes it pleases the Holy Spirit to open a well of living waters for us in the person, and work, and life, and sympathy, and love, of our Well-beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus suffers with thee, O thou child of God, — suffers in thee. Thou art a member of His body, and therefore He endures in thee. Thou art making up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ for His body's sake, which is the Church. Besides, once more, our sorrows often arise from our not observing the Holy Spirit.

II. I think I hear some one say, "I have no doubt, sir, that God has provided a supply for necessities, but may I partake of that supply? may I participate in the provisions of Divine love?" I will answer thee by saying, in the second place, that THIS SUPPLY IS FOR YOU.

III. Now to our last point. IT IS AVAILABLE WITHOUT ANY EXTRAORDINARY EXERTION. Hagar went and filled her bottle with water, and she gave her child to drink. No hydraulic inventions were required; no exceedingly difficult pumping, no mechanical contrivances to obtain the water when the spring was perceived. She did a very simple thing: she held her bottle in the water till it was full, poured out into the child's mouth, and the dilemma which had perilled life was over. Now, the way by which we get a hold of Christ is faith.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. Our first head shall be that IF OUR EYES WERE FURTHER OPENED THE RESULT TO ANY ONE OF US WOULD BE VERY REMARKABLE. We are at present limited in our range of sight. This is true of our natural or physical vision, of our mental vision, and of our spiritual vision; and in each case when the range of sight is enlarged very remarkable discoveries are made. God has been pleased to open the natural eyes of mankind by the invention optical instruments. What a discovery it was when first of all certain pieces of glass were arranged in connection with each other, and men began to peer into the stars! Equally marvellous was the effect upon human knowledge when the microscope was invented. We could never have imagined what wonders of skill and taste would be revealed by the magnifying-glass, and what marvels of beauty would be found compassed within a space too small to measure. Our physical eyes thus opened by either glass reveal strange marvels, and we may infer from this fact that the opening of our mental and spiritual eyes will discover to us equal wonders in other domains, and thus increase our reverence and love towards God.

1. Suppose, that our eyes could be opened as to all our past lives. Our childhood — how different that period would now appear with God's light upon it. Our vision will be strengthened one day, so that we shall see the end from the beginning, and then we shall understand that the Lord maketh all things work together for good to them that love Him.

2. And now suppose, again, our eyes should be opened upon the future. Ay, would you not like to spy into destiny? Ah, if your eyes could be opened as to all that is to happen, what would you do? If you were wise, and knew your future, you would commit it unto God; commit it to Him though you do not know it.

3. If our eyes were opened, again, on another point, as to the existence of angels, we should see marvels. If the Lord opened the eyes of His greatly beloved servants to see how many of these mighty intelligences are silently guarding then., they would cease to complain of loneliness while in the midst of such a thronging ministry of willing friends.

4. And what, once more, if your eyes could be opened to look into heaven?

II. IN SOME THINGS OUR EYES MUST BE OPENED. Those I have spoken about are desirable in a measure, but these are absolutely necessary. For instance, as to the divine salvation, our eyes must be opened.

III. IN OUR PRESENT CASE IT IS VERY DESIRABLE THAT OUR EYES SHOULD BE OPENED. To many it is imperatively needful at this moment, for if not now recovered from their blindness they will die in their sins.

1. First, we would have opened eyes that we may see Jesus to be very near us. Do not think of Him just now as if He were far away in heaven. He is there in his glorious personality, but His spiritual presence is here also.

2. We desire that you may have your eyes opened to see what you are in Christ. You complain that you are black in yourselves; but you are most fair in Him.

3. Lastly, may the Lord open your eyes to see what you will be in Him. Certain of us are nearer heaven than we think. Let our hearts dance for joy at the bare thought of such speedy felicity. Let us go on our way blessing and magnifying Him who has opened our eyes to see the glory which He has prepared for them that love Him, which shall be ours ere long.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is wonderful how God provides for the needs of His creatures in strange places and in unlikely ways. All living things must have water or die; and so water is often found stored up in remarkable and unexpected places. In the heart of Africa, where all is drought and barrenness, it is said that there is sometimes found in the soil a little stem of a plant, and by digging down to the bottom of it, a bulb is discovered which contains a quantity of pure, sweet water. Melons, which are full of water, grow best on light, dry, sandy soil; and sometimes, where water cannot easily be found, certain trees afford a most nourishing and refreshing beverage. There is a vast amount of water in the air, even when no clouds are seen. In a summer day how quickly the outside of a pitcher of cold water will be covered with moisture, which is drawn from the air. So while some plants draw up water from the earth by their roots, others, called air plants, hang upon trees, and, without touching the ground, draw nourishment and moisture from the air. A writer tells of a surveying party who were resting at noon in Florida, when one of the chainmen exclaimed: "I would give fifty cents a swallow for all the water I could drink." He expressed the sentiment of the others; all were very thirsty, and there was not a spring or a stream of water anywhere in the vicinity. While the men were thus talking, the surveyor saw a crow put his bill into a cluster of broad, long leaves, growing on the side of a tall cypress. The leaves were those of a peculiar air-plant, they were green, and bulged out at the bottom, forming an inverted bell. The smaller end was held to the tree by roots grappling the bark. Feeding on the air and water that it catches and holds, the air-plant becomes a sort of cistern. The surveyor sprang to his feet with a laugh. "Boys," he said, "that old crow is wiser than every one of us." "How so?" they asked. "Why, he knows that there are a hundred thousand water-tanks in this forest." "Where?" they demanded, in amazement. The surveyor cut an air-plant in two, and drained nearly a pint of pure cold water from it. The men did not suffer for water after that, for every tree in the forest had at least one air-plant, and almost every air plant contained a drink of water. So God satisfies the longings of thirsty men. Even amid the desert's glowing sands, the smitten rock poured forth the life-giving flood. And God also provides living water for thirsty souls; and those who feel in their hearts longings such as earth can never satisfy, may hear amid the restlessness of unsatisfied desire, the voice of Him who stood in the Temple and cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink!"

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