Ruth and Naomi Watercolor Illustration

It’s a powerful and moving story. I am really drawn to it and tried to capture the innocence and vitality of, how I view, a young Ruth. I might have depicted Naomi older than she was, but I tried to convey a tired woman in both emotional and physical pain. Most of the pigments I used are new to me, so I’m still getting a handle on how they work together.

Their story:  A young woman named Naomi in Bethlehem marries. It’s during a famine so her husband decides that they will take their family to place where struggle will be less. They settle in and their boys marry Moabite women. They live there 10 years and Naomi loses both her husband and her sons. She’s left with only two daughters-in-law. She tells them to go back to their mother’s houses because they can remarry yet, and she will go back through the wilderness, to Bethlehem. 

Orpah leaves, but Ruth stays and makes a powerfully heartfelt comment to Naomi that brings tears to my eyes: “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried, May the LORD do the same to me [as He has done to you], and more also, if anything but death separates me from you.”  

Naomi has so much pain and now needs to make a long, hard journey home. She accepts Ruth determination, and they leave together. When they arrive to Bethlehem, the women in town as “Is this Naomi?” Naomi’s reply: “Do not call me Naomi (sweetness); call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has caused me great grief and bitterness. I left full [with a husband and two sons], but the LORD has brought me back empty.”

In Bethlehem, Ruth’s faithfulness to God is ultimately blessed with a redemption marriage as a result. Naomi eventually goes through a healing process and finds joy in her grandchildren.

The Book of Ruth 1:16, 19-21

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