13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
Beer (well) + lahai (the living) + roi (see) = the Well of the Living One that Sees Me
Beer-lahai-roi is the name of a place that shows our human nature: how we stumble; upon hearing the Word of God, how we receive only what we want to receive and reject what we don’t want. It is the well of the Living One (God) who sees everything. Beer-lahai-roi appears three times in the Bible (Gen 16:14; 24:62; 25:11). The person who named this well was Ishmael’s mother, Hagar.
God ratifies the covenant of the torch with Abraham, promising the heir (seed) that will come from his body (Gen 15). A year later, because there is still no heir, Abraham and Sarai replace God’s Word with their own human zeal (Zech 4:6), and Sarai offers her maidservant Hagar to Abraham. Thus Hagar conceives Ishmael, and she begins to despise Sarai. This leads Sarai to treat Hagar very harshly, and Hagar flees. Even though they all sacrificed themselves to fulfill God’s Word, it still failed. This great turmoil took place because human zeal replaced God’s Word.
God met with Hagar after she had fled from Sarai, and she was so thankful and happy to meet with God that she returned to her mistress’ house (Gen 16:9-14).What does God tell Hagar?
1. God tells her to return and submit to her mistress. God is straightening out the spiritual order. Return to your position.
2. God blesses the child by giving the name “Ishmael,” which means “God heard my affliction.”
3. God gives a warning of Ishmael’s future (Gen 16:12), that he will be untamed and fight against his brothers. However, Hagar neglects this warning. We tend to have selective hearing when we listen to the Word, only holding onto the parts of the message that we like.
Hagar rejecting the third message can be seen 17 years after she met with God at Beer-lahai-roi, when Isaac is born (Gen 21). When Isaac was weaned at three years, Ishmael was 17 years old; even though Ishmael was older than Isaac by 14 years, God’s spiritual order was for His promised to be fulfilled through Isaac. Had Hagar submitted to her mistress’ authority and keep God’s warning in her heart, Ishmael would not have mocked Isaac (Gen 21:9). However, Ishmael did to Isaac just as his mother Hagar wronged her mistress Sarai. He followed the example of his mother. Hagar’s selective hearing resulted in her and Ishmael being permanently separated from Abraham’s household, which is covenanted line.
Abraham was such a great man that he was willing to make an heir out of his own servant, Eliezer (Gen 15:4, Gen 24:2). The mere servant Eliezer was greatly blessed. The maidservant Hagar, who carried Abraham’s own seed, would have also been greatly blessed if she had only listened fully to God at Beer-lahai-roi. We also cannot become to channel to fulfill God’s promise if we don’t fully listen to God’s Word.
Eliezer was a humble servant, thus great honor was bestowed upon him (Prov 16:18; 18:12). But Hagar shows the great example of pride leading to destruction, for she could not understand the spiritual order. Although Hagar was the one to found the name Beer-lahai-roi, she could not fully hold onto the Word of God that spoke to her there. Thus Beer-lahai-roi later became the dwelling place for the true promised son, Isaac. We must also possess the spiritual Beer-lahai-roi. Jesus is the One to give the well of water (John 4:14), for He is our spiritual fountain. We must drink from this well of Beer-lahai-roi. Inside of us will also flow the living water, which is the Spirit of God (John 7:38-39), and the Spirit of God is the Word of God (John 6:63). God’s Word to Hagar at Beer-lahai-roi was meant as a blessing, for God desired for Hagar to stay in Abraham’s blessed covenanted household. However, Hagar’s attitude eliminated her and Ishmael from Abraham’s household.
We must have the correct attitude in receiving the Word of God, which is God’s Spirit. The Word of God must become living and active in our lives (Heb 4:12-13). When we receive the Word of God, we must discern our own thoughts. We must correctly identify which of our thoughts are from God’s Spirit and which of our thoughts are from human zeal. To be able to discern the thoughts we have is the living and active Word of God working inside of us. By discerning, God can fulfill the covenant of the torch through us as the spiritual descendants of Abraham.