Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beneath the Terebinth Tree

As our women's bible study group went through the story of Sarah in Genesis, I was struck by the words "Terebinth tree". It sounded like something mysterious and beautiful and I wondered if it had any significance to the story.

The Terebinth was an unusually tall oak-like tree that stood out in the landscape of Palestine, even used as landmarks for travelers. They are long-living and majestic in appearance, often used as a symbol of strength and durability. It was also a source of turpentine tapped from the trunk, for commercial and medicinal use.

Perhaps with all that Sarah had been through, all of the waiting, traveling and trials, the Terebinth near their campsite in Mamre was a comfort to her. Perhaps reminding her of God's strength and provision.

This is my imagining of that moment:

Beneath the Terebinth Tree

From dusty tent Sarai, head down,
walks slowly, seeking peace.
Touching bark reverently, gazing up
through branches broad, stretching heavenward.
Majestic, full of grace,
the tree is strong and steadfast as the Lord.

Thoughts roam back, find well-worn paths:
Even good men make foolish mistakes;
strength and youth of men fade away.
The tree endures, with powerful limbs protecting,
providing shelter.
What comfort to a woman travel weary, disillusioned.
Struggling, bitter against husband
whose dreams she follows,

Waiting for prophecy fulfilling
and aching to cease.
The tree is a soothing balm
for soul worn out, no tears
Regretful of rash decision,
jealous of another quickly blessed.
Heart sick from hope deferred.

Dare she believe?
Empty womb, alive and bearing
longed for son.
Sarah laughs, embarrassed and afraid.
God has heard, remembered, is faithful.
He speaks:
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Child of laughter arriving,
borne of promises and joy.



J said...

Magnificent, Jen! Truly, so. I like to think of Sarah finding comfort in that tree. I also like your line that goes: thoughts roam back, find well-worn paths....oh how careful we have to be...and how we need to take our thoughts captive. Thank you for sharing!

Chelsea said...

Oh Jen, I'm just in tears. You so beautifully captured Sarah's heart. So funny, I kept thinking, "I wish I had time to study about those terebinth trees!" I'm so glad you took the time! What a blessing. Your words are infused with grace and beauty.

Becky Avella said...

Oh wow, Jen. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your writing. It's a gift.

Alexis Hallum said...

Hello Jen! I found your blog through, in the hush of the moon. I just have to say that your poem is beautiful. I did a bible study on the trees of the bible and it was actually very interesting. The Terebinth tree is a lovely tree...
I truly love the story of Sarah.

Hilty Sprouts! said...

Thanks friends!

Thanks for stopping by Alexis!