From a very early age, Rachel found
That she had her father and mother tightly wound
Around her little finger, such that with a look or a word
She could get nearly anything her little heart preferred.
Most said it was her eyes that made everyone weak,
So that when she smiled and would quietly speak,
Few could resist heeding her request,
And whispering how greatly she had been blest.
Jacob learned the power of Rachel’s beauty in form and in face
The day he arrive at his mother’s birthplace
And saw her coming to the well with her father’s sheep.
A slight smile from her face made Jacob dig deep,
Mustering his strength and moving the great stone,
Revealing the water and that his heart had been won.
Rachel’s father, not one to miss an opportunity,
Let his daughter’s beauty purchase for free
Seven years of labor from his sister’s son –
Two thousand, five hundred and fifty five days that felt like one
To the man smitten by Rachel’s intoxicating stare –
A stare to which her sister’s weak eyes could not compare.
And though it was Leah who was his first wife,
Rachel was the favored second, as she had been all her life.
Yet the girl who had had every whim of her heart
Found that beauty alone would never impart
The gift of a child – a gift her sister received.
Four times over she heard that Leah conceived,
Till disappointment and rage boiled over in the cry,
“Jacob, give me children now, or I will die!”
Yet Jacob had no power over the giving of offspring,
And now Rachel, whose beauty had secured everything,
Turned to the ways of the world, as she desperately bade
Jacob to bear her children through her handmaid.
Two children later, she still longed for just one,
Turning to mandrakes to give her a son.
But it was not beauty nor Jacob nor servant nor root
That could cause barren Rachel to finally bear fruit.
At the end of herself, she finally prayed –
She renounced all her schemes and the games she had played.
And God remembered Rachel; he opened her womb.
And finally she praised God as the only one whom
She could turn to to remove her disgrace –
The only one who with the light of his face
Can bring life to dead places and joy to the shadows
Through the meritless grace he freely bestows.
But even as she named Joseph, Rachel revealed
A deep human ache that this boy had not healed.
“May the Lord add another son to me,”
Was her longing, still thirsty plea.
As we light this next candle and see Rachel’s tale,
Let us remember that our efforts will finally fail
To secure what we need – to quench the thirst we all know
As God exposes our hearts and lovingly shows
That we cannot find peace through the work of our hands,
And that even the blessings we find only stand
To make us cry out, “Lord, I need more.”
And all of our works to finally deplore.
It’s then that God calls us to look at another Son he gave –
The one who pursued us through death and the grave,
Who came to this earth as the one child who can
Satisfy the soul-thirst of every woman and man.
He comes as the Son we are all seeking for.
He’s been sent to open and be salvation’s true door.