The woman had never paid much attention to the serpent, not that she could recall. He had stayed on the periphery, his voice interjecting occasionally, but always under the radar.
Then the sun dropped behind the horizon, and in the darkness Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. The Lord himself was making a covenant with Abram that day.
The woman he loved had her arm outstretched. She was offering him the fruit, the juice still dripping down her chin. The man watched himself take a bite.
By the time she discovered the spring, her head was hot and throbbing. Dirt streaked across her face where her tears had mingled with the wilderness dust. Hagar sat down to rest, splashing the cool water on her face. For the first time since she left, she realized she had no plan.
Hagar had always been carried along by the current of other people’s lives. In Egypt she had been sold as a slave to the highest bidder. Abraham bought her and Sarah took her as her personal servant. They had brought her to Canaan, and then quite unexpectedly, her own body, her womb, had been called into service.
Abraham and Sarah saw the smoke rise up from the valley, and the acrid smell of sulfur and burning filled the air. Just the day before, Abraham had entertained the three visitors. The Lord had said to Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard.”