Facing Dried Up Brooks
“Go from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the wadi. 7 But after a while the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land. The Widow of Zarephath8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.—1 Kings 17:3-9a, NRSV
Elijah is hired by the Lord for a high profile position. As God’s champion and spokesperson, he is given the weighty responsibility of raising issues of justice and righteousness, ultimate love and loyalty, with the powers that be. The royals, King Ahab and QueenJezebel, are less than happy about one of the subjects challenging their vision, authority and values. As a consequence, Elijah, we can infer, becomes a marked man. They intend to either kill or cage the prophet who speaks freely and truthfully—two very dangerous traits which threaten the dominant narrative of a community, city, and/or country.
Consequently, the Lord protects His investment in Elijah by sending him to exile. He stays in a bed and breakfast near the Brook of Cherit. Everywhere else there is famine and drought, but God provides Elijah with food and water, shelter and security. Twice a day, Elijah experiences heaven’s form of room service, as the ravens, who wish to wet their beaks, fly in the prophets daily supply of bread and meat.
However, Verse 7 signals a painful, scary shift in circumstances. The brook, on which Elijah and the ravens had relied for fresh water, dried up. The source, which once sustained and strengthened his life, had dried up. It no longer could fulfill the function Elijah had come to expect.
Has you brook ever dried up? Relationships which once poured life into you now take life from you. Music which once lifted your spirits with every note now seems dull and dead. The daily practice of the spiritual devotionals (prayer, scripture reading, mediation, songs of praise, etc) appear to net nothing. In fact, you simply feel as if you’re merely going through the motion without lighting some spark of inspiration and/or illumination.
Still, the question is: When your brook dries up, what should you do? The answer, according to the text, is simply stated, even though not easy to live with:
First, accept that droughts are a part of life, even and especially for people of faith.
Second, brooks don’t last forever, but God’s blessings are new every morning.
Third, expect to experience a change in your assignment.
1. How does knowing the three truths above help you reinterpret your seasons of frustration and fruitlessness?
2. Have you ever thank God for His tender care during your tough times?
3. For whom should you start praying and with whom should you share the message about how to dealing with a dried brook situation?