Weekly Devotional

Womb of God

Reflection by Audra Teague Mackey

Thus says Yahweh:

Is Ephraim my dear son?  My darling child?

For the more I speak of him,

the more I do remember him.

Therefore my womb trembles for him;

I will truly show motherly-compassion upon him.


This passage, written in the context of Jerusalem's destruction and the exile of most of its inhabitants to  Babylon, reflects on God's abiding love.  This particular translation was written by renowned Bible scholar Phyllis Trible, and it is a bit different than the translation you will find in most Bibles.  In her translation, Trible goes back to the root of the Hebrew word for compassion and mercy, which is quite literally the word “wombs.”   The same is true in other Semitic languages, including Arabic and Aramaic: the word “wombs” means compassion.  In Islam, one of the main names for God is Alrachma al Rachmim – the Womb of Wombs.  Trible offers us an insight into this ancient understanding of God that we would otherwise completely miss.

What an awesome addition to our imagery for the Sacred – the Womb, by its very nature, without conditions or reservations, nurtures and holds and creates the space for life to begin.  Love is a way of describing what the womb is and what the womb does, and the womb is a way of describing the nature of God.  Even as adults, we are surrounded by God's love and God's desire for our growth as if we were still in the womb.  Even as adults, God is feeding our souls and bodies with the nourishment we need to become who we are in God.  The Womb that holds us in all our moments of struggle and celebration is the Womb that trembles with love for us, always.  

Prayer: God of womb-like love, we pray that you will help us to trust in your surrounding presence.  As we learn to trust more, help us to become a womb-like presence to each other and our world  – nurturing, compassionate, and merciful, always.  Amen.

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