This is Abraham’s well in Beersheba which we visited. John Faltin took this picture and it shows what might have been. But the well is the secondary story to chapter 21. The primary story is the birth of Isaac, and the banishment of Ishmael.
God is faithful and follows through on his promises. We find that Sarah has a child and names him Isaac, which was the name that God said he should be called, but it also means laughter and she says, somewhat insecurely, that everyone will laugh at her when they hear that she in her old age, and Abraham in his old age, have born a son. They have a huge baptismal party, but it was actually a circumcision party which is called a brit milah or in yiddish a bris. But it was a huge party and it gathered everyone in for a celebration, including Isaac’s big brother, Ishmael. He was a good big brother. He played with the 8 day old and enjoyed not being the only child (I’m totally reading into this).
But his stepmom, whom we already saw was somewhat insecure, sees him playing with his brother and begins to connect some dots that didn’t necessarily need to be connected. She could see this child, who was his idea, taking away some of her son’s inheritance, and that could never happen. It is time that only one son be in the family, the other has to go. So she insists with Abraham that he sends Ishmael outside of the house. Abraham is troubled by the request and you get a sense that he was going to fight it until the Lord comes and says: Don’t worry about it, it is all part of my plan.
Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away, but not without a flask of water. That was nice of him. It is interesting how it seems that Ishmael is a child in this depiction. But we know that he was pretty close to a grown man. Even though it says that she threw him under a bush so that she would not see him die. But the Lord comes and rescues them and he trains in the wilderness to become a great hunter. She finds him a wife from Egypt, so it seems that they are pretty set. I love how Scripture gives us details even of those who were to be forgotten. God is faithful, because this is still Abraham’s son.