The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot. Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground, he said “Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past your servant. Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Abraham, sat in the entrance of his tent on a hot day, near a Mediterranean Sumac tree in Mamre. The Canaanites who lived in that land considered the tree to be holy. Mamre lies about halfway between the current day Palestinian cities of Halhul and Hebron. In Arabic, Mamre is referred to as Rāmet el-Ḥalīl or the Hill of the Friend.
Friendship is a key element in today’s scripture. As Abraham sits there, He suddenly encounters God in the form of three travelers (the Holy Trinity). He suddenly rushes out.
We can well experience the kind of day Abraham and his people were experiencing, just step outside. Abraham runs out on this hot day, leaves the shade of his tent, to welcome the stranger – and does just what someone would need on such a hot day. He offers them cool water to wash in, cool shade to rest in, and a fine picnic lunch. In return for Abraham and Sarah’s act of friendship, God rewards them with the promise of their desired child.
God’s mode of operation is predicated on friendship, His unfailing, all-in, friendship with us in grace and His desire for our friendship – a return to Him, dedication to Him. The Prophets Hosea and Joel make God’s word plain to us: “Come back to Me with all your heart.” The theme of friendship runs through the histories and prophesies of the Bible. God’s perfect witness of friendship – He Himself, comes to us and offers His whole self to reconnect us to God.
St. Paul rejoices in sufferings, because he suffered for the sake of his friends in Christ. He sets an example for us; we must be prepared to do all necessary out of the love the flows from our friendship with God. Run out of our tents, offer cool water, food, and most importantly, what we have heard from Jesus. Like Mary, take what we hear and put that into action. Do not let any anxiety get in the way of sudden friendship with God and each person we encounter.