A fruitful field

The bible story of Ruth the Moabite is one of the most beautiful love stories to me. It reads like the text of a play and my shortened version is by far not as vivid, nor as poetic as the original translation from Hebrew. My reason for shortening it here is to see the field unhindered, to fully understand why there is a field in the story and what it stands for.

The story begins in Moab shortly after Ruth’s husband had died. He was the last of Naomi’s children. Naomi was also a widow and now she had no prospect of grandchildren. She yearned for the city of Bethlehem in Judah, her home country. Her daughter in law Ruth refused to stay behind and said to her mother in law, ‘Ask me not to ever leave you for where you go, I go, where you stay, I stay. Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God.’

With her mind set, Ruth goes with Naomi to Bethlehem where they arrive destitute and poor. It was then that Ruth asked Naomi, ‘Let me go pick up grain after the reapers among the sheaves in the field’ because they needed bread to survive.

Naomi still had family in Judah. On her deceased husband’s side there was a mighty man of wealth and his name was Boaz. When Ruth went to pick up grain, unbeknown to her she found herself in Boaz’s field. He saw her and inquired after her. He then approached her and said to her ‘pick not grain in another field, neither go from here but stay fast by these young maidens of mine. Let your eyes be on the field and go with them. I’ve commanded the young men that they shall not touch you and when you are thirsty go to the vessels and drink of that which the young men have drawn.’

She then bowed herself down and said to him, ‘Why have I found grace in your eyes that you should take knowledge of me, a stranger.’

The story weaves beautifully with the help of Naomi between Ruth and Boaz until circumstances bring them closer together and they fall in love. According to Jewish law the next of kin of a diseased brother was required to marry his widow and that was what Boaz did for his diseased brother Elimelech and gave Naomi again the prospect of grandchildren.

In Boaz’s fruitful field Ruth is answered. Her ‘let me go and find bread’ is answered far above what she ever expected. It is so that a planted field resembles a page written in lines like a letter. But there is so much more here. I think it is also a physical picture of prayer, where there is perfect fellowship with the Son of God, who stands in as our older brother. In that field of prayer I exhale my cries to my Heavenly Father and breath in his comfort and restoration by the Holy Spirit. It becomes the breath of my spirit and I can live again.

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