In the Hagar narrative, the words of the text contain the following challenging verse: "Then God opened [Hagar's] eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink." (Genesis 21:19)
The opening of Hagar's eyes has been the subject of much discussion by commentators. What does "God opened Hagar's eyes" mean? She was a banished woman with a son, but the text does not say that Hagar had a sight problem. Perhaps Hagar could see perfectly but did not recognize the resources surrounding her. We have all experienced times when our sense of life’s struggle renders the good things in our lives invisible. Was the appearance of the well a miracle from God, or did God simply guide Hagar to open her own eyes to a hopeful aspect of her bleak situation? Sforno tells us that God gave Hagar understanding and, therefore, she was able to see the well. Because Hagar had faith with the help of God, she was able to see. But having faith is not always easy, and we cannot always depend on God's help. In a time of chaos or sorrow many people lose faith and are unable to open their eyes and see the miraculous or even not so miraculous things that surround them.
It is important for us to always wrestle with our concept of faith and to find ways to understand how God interacts in your lives. And while we may face challenging times, we will always have the potential to open our eyes and see the miraculous things around us.