An excerpt from Meditation Five of my book, A TIME TO BE BORN: Meditations on the Birth of a Child, based on Exodus 2:1-10:
Moses’ mother, Jochebed, hid Moses for three months at home. Because Jochebed feared that as Moses grew, Egyptian soldiers would be more likely to find him, she developed a daring plan to keep the child alive. She crafted the papyrus basket, placed Moses in it, and put the waterproofed basket and Moses in the reeds near the bank of the neighboring Nile. She asked her daughter, Miriam, to remain close by and watch him.
She may have thought that Egyptian soldiers wouldn’t think to look along the Nile since it was the very place where Israelite babies were being killed, but she couldn’t be sure this plan would protect him. All she had was her faith in God and the watchful eyes of Moses’ sister.
One day while Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the Nile, she spotted the basket and told one of her servants to retrieve it. She recognized Moses as one of the Hebrew babies. When Miriam saw saw what was happening, she immediately approached Pharaoh’s daughter and asked if she would like Miriam to fetch one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby. When Pharaoh’s daughter answered yes, Miriam hurriedly went for Jochebed. The scripture from Exodus tells of the magical moment when, with a little help from Miriam, Moses and Jochebed were reunited. Moses and his mother were able to live together for a while during a time when it’s critical that mother and child be together as much as possible.
This is one of the sweetest stories in scripture because it speaks to the love of a mother. Is there anything quite like that expression of human love? The mother has carried the child inside her for nine months. The mother provides the child life-sustaining nutrition. In addition, ongoing research suggests that, during the last trimester especially, the baby hears the mother’s voice–and only the mother’s voice.
At the time of birth, mother and child know each other well. It’s no wonder that the mother’s love for her child is so tenaciously strong. After birth when the child’s eyes are able to focus, the mother’s voice leads the baby’s eyes to her. The sight of the mother and the sound of her voice make the child feel safe in this new world.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY