When she first met Haviva she thought it was the greatest friendship ever. They laughed and played and ran in and out of the merchants. But now, it was painful. Haviva was the ten-year-old daughter of a royal family. Haviva was kind to Adina and seemed to truly love their time together. Haviva just didn’t realize the consequences that made Adina’s life miserable.
Haviva’s parents would give her milk to drink and often ask her to stop and taste some wonderful treats. Adina had to keep her place and was never offered any of the luscious food reserved for the wealthy. Adina’s stomach would growl and the hot sand burned her bony bare feet. She missed her friend but didn’t want to be jealous of Haviva. It was better to spend the noon hour here by the stream. She closed her eyes and let the breeze and the lapping of the water try to drown out the pains of her empty stomach.
“I like spending the day by water, don’t you?”
Adina jumped to her feet. She started to run away but was calmed by the young man’s smile.
“I come here often but have never seen you before. Is this your first time?”
Adina shook her head no and brushed dried grass off her torn dress.
“I thought it would be nice to have a bite to eat. Did you bring your lunch?”
“No!” She couldn’t stand to watch someone else eat. She stomped her feet to walk away.
“Please stay and share mine with me.”
Adina stopped. Did he ask me to eat with him? “Um…what did you say?”
The kind man shaded his eyes as he looked up at Adina. “Would you like to have some lunch with me?”
Adina crossed her arms and patted her foot. “I don’t see any food.”
He rose to his feet and pointed to a nearby clearing by an open cave. “It’s over there.”
Adina was careful not to get to close to the man in case she needed to run away. They pushed their way through tall brush and into the clearing. Adina couldn’t believe her eyes. A large crimson cloth held a banquet of food. Her mouth watered and her stomach growled. The man extended his hand. “Come, let’s eat.”
Adina tried to eat slowly but the food was so good and the water from the wineskin so cool that it was hard to even take time to breathe. The man ate a little but mostly he talked. He talked about how much God loved Adina.
Adina gulped a mouthful of meat, “If he loves me so much why am I always hungry?”
The man sat up and stroked her mangled hair. “He sees your pain and it breaks his heart.”
Adina stopped and stared at his eyes. They seemed to pierce through her. A tear was forming in the corner of his eye. She reached to touch his face. She could feel the deepness of his love for her.
“When you need my father, call on him. He will always be there for you.” He stood and took her in his arms. He hugged her and whispered in her ear, “I love you.” He returned her to the blanket and walked away.
“What about your stuff?” she yelled.
“It’s yours,” he called back as he continued to walk down the dusty road.
Adina couldn't eat anymore. She thought about the gentle man that loved her and the wonderful gift she had been given. She lay back on the blanket and stared at a wispy cloud. Are you up there? Is there really a God like momma says? Do you really love me? She reached for the wineskin to pour some water in her mouth. Instead of water, coins hit her cheeks.
She jumped to her feet. It was money, lots of money. The man had left her enough food for her entire family and more money than she had ever seen. She danced in praise to the gentle man and his God that loved her so. “God loves me!” she shouted. “God loves me.”
"Let not your heart be trouble; ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1
God loves you,