“By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” Gen. 24: 14
This was a short prayer done by the servant tasked by Abraham to find a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. The servant, according to tradition called Eliezer, was asked by Abraham to find the bride from his own family. Eliezer was not told anything more. But when he came to Abraham’s place, he stood near a spring and prays to God saying, “May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’ – let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.”
The task of sharing water is not easy as it sounds. The effort needed to draw water from the well itself is intense and why should a girl share it with a male traveller who can easily draw water from the well. Also, after the jar of water is lifted on the shoulder to be carried, any stop or break will make it difficult for the person to lift it up again. So, when Eliezer asks a girl to lower the jar for a drink, it may irritate her, than make her happy to share. The fact that Eliezer was a stranger to the girl makes his chances of success more difficult. In this scenario, who would offer water to the camels voluntarily. To an ancient ear, it would be an unnecessary test which makes the success rate less and issue complicated.
Why Eliezer needs to place this unnecessary and hard test to find the bride?
Was not the mater’s instruction simple and clear? Abraham asked him to find a bride from his family. Which worker in his sane mind will jeopardise the task given by the master by making it tough and impossible?
But here this action of Eliezer reflects the character of Abraham and the high regard Eliezer had for Abraham. This willingness to go extra miles tells volumes about how Abraham treated his servant. Eliezer was not merely trying to fulfil the task given to him but puts himself fully into it and tries his best to find a suitable and fitting bride for the family.
Eliezer moves beyond the criteria set by Abraham and tries to find a bride who would lead the whole family well just like his master Abraham.
This should make us wonder, how we treat those who are around us. Will they go extra mile for us or they would be happy just to finish the job at hand and go home. It is a challenge for all those who have someone under their charge.