"Let a little water be brought." (Gen. 18:4)

Perhaps the reason Abraham spoke about a "little" water was to indicate that it was not much of an effort to procure it. He certainly was not miserly. Apparently, he did not want to depart from his custom to ask guests to wash their feet to remove the dust that most of them worshipped. (Baba Metzia 86) [The author feels the need to justify the custom seeing Abraham was already aware that his guests were angels and not given to worship the dust. Abraham may not have wanted his servants to realize that his guests were angels. E.M.]

...the water he spoke about was a reference to the Torah.

Abraham may have hinted to the angels that the water he spoke about was a reference to the Torah. Torah is multi-faceted; it speaks to us as peshat, plain meaning of the words, and it also contains messages on a far deeper level. Abraham faced heavenly beings in human guise, i.e. G‑d had made a body for them through solidifying something normally ethereal. When an angel assumes human form his "body" is compared to the "foot". This is a concept familiar to students of the Kabbalah. (Zohar I 58)

Abraham hinted to the angels that they should take a little of the plain meaning of the Torah i.e. "water," seeing that they were presently in human form. They could then rest under "the Tree," i.e. hyperbole for Torah which is known as the Tree of Life. He referred to it as The Tree (ha'etz) though it had not previously featured in our story. He also told them to take bread (pat lechem) , a reference to the inner meanings of Torah, something he alluded to when speaking about their levchem (inner organs). He invited the angels to enjoy the inner aspects of Torah.

[This is not so strange-sounding, seeing angels had never been given the Torah. E.M.]

The reason he did not merely day pat but pat lechem, was a hint that this bread had inner properties, i.e. its numerical value being 78, or three times the numerical value (26) of the four-lettered Holy Name. This was an allusion to eternal life, i.e. past, present and future.

[Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of "Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar" by Eliyahu Munk.]