Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well
Tossed off perhaps by the great master
the small pen and brown ink drawing
Of Eliezer and Rebecca at the well.
Whimsical, or perhaps not, the traveler
sits while the comely Rebecca tilts
her pitcher to his lips.
His hair is carefully parted on the left,
wayfarers’ stock rests between his knees,
in the distance another traveler walks.
Whimsical, the background seems
almost doodling but on closer look
is alive with faces and detail.
What speaks most to lightheartedness
is Rebecca’s saucy wide brimmed hat,
a hat not fit for drawing water.
A taciturn face in background right is carefully
observant of events unfolding
and the great moment of the chance encounter.
Or was it chance? Eliezer began his journey
with a solemn oath to one who had lain
on a bundle of faggots at God’s command,
which is the back story to this encounter
not sketched by Rembrandt, Eliezer prayed
not to his own God, but to Abraham’s:
Oh, thou great choreographer, Thou
Stage manager of the theater
in which we humans play our lives,
who hides behind the thrown die,
be constrained by my master’s need
grant the success of my perilous journey.
“Drink and I will draw for your camels also”
will mark the discharge of our pact,
You will have met your word to Abraham.
The lightness of the drawing prefigures
the happy outcome of the eternal struggle
among accident, fate and purpose.
Lloyd A. Jacobs, M.D.
After undergraduate study at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Jacobs attended The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. After postdoctoral study at three institutions, he practiced Surgery for twenty years, becoming Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan. He was appointed President of The Medical College of Ohio in 2003 and became president of the combined institution when the Medical College merged into The University of Toledo. He served in this role until 2015. He recently resumed writing poetry, an art form he had not practiced for nearly forty years.
The Ekphrastic Review
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