The sound of pouring rain above alternates with the rumble of the sump pump below. A critical pairing these days in central Illinois. So the sound of drought pricked my ears:
After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. 1 Kings 17:7(CEB)
I enjoy the surprise of reading according to the lectionary. I had no idea that Elijah was going to appear today. Proclaiming no rain to Ahab, king of unprecedented evil. Elijah was hiding out, as instructed by the Lord, by the Cherith brook. The ravens, as ordered by the Lord, have been feeding him mornings and evenings.
There aren’t many other voices there by the brook. Except maybe the ones in Elijah’s head, sometimes encouraging, sometimes second-guessing. But Elijah hears the Lord’s word and follows. The ravens listen and obey. And there is a widow listening as well.
When Elijah goes to the Zarephath gate and asks a woman for a little water, I am immediately reminded of Oliver’s teaching on Jesus’ discussion with the woman at the well. Men of God asking non-Jewish women for a drink. How do the women respond? Who provides?
And where is Zarephath? Not in Israel, that’s for sure. Nestled between Tyre and Sidon, the same seaside beach region where Jesus tries to escape to rest. Where another woman recognizes him and pleads and argues for the healing of her daughter.
What a fascinating history of a place. Who are these women- seeking, listening, watching for the Lord? The widow serves Elijah’s hunger with her last flour and oil, believing the Lord’s word of provision.
“Don’t be afraid!” 1 Kings 17:13a (CEB)
Over a hundred times in scripture. Don’t be afraid to obey God by giving all you have. Don’t be afraid of the disciples who will shush you when you call out to the Teacher. Don’t be afraid to argue with Jesus for the healing of your daughter. Be bold. Be salt. Be light. (For those of you following along in Matthew 5).
Are we listening- like Elijah, like the ravens, like the widow? To provide for others, to be provided for. To give a drink of water, and thus to taste living water. To make a little loaf of bread, then to be fed the bread of life that never runs out. When the Lord’s word comes to us, what do we do? May our answer be Completely Yes.
Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord
From The Bottom Of My Heart
To The Depths Of My Soul
Yes, Lord, Completely Yes;
My Soul Says Yes
in memory of a woman who listened to the word of the Lord, with love to my friend on her 46th birthday.