It hasn’t rained in months. Well, make that years. Famine has overtaken the land. Every day when I walk to the Temple, I see the hunger ravaged bodies writhing in the dust, begging for a morsel of meat and a drop to drink. Every day I cry to Baal, pleading with him to pour his rain. The priest has sacrificed more animals and even children than I can count. “Why is there no rain? Why do we suffer? Why does King Ahab not hear our cries?” These are the questions that fill my mind. I am Jabon, of Israel.
“This is our last meal”, my mother said. “We have enough meal and oil to make a small cake. I will bake it, we will share it, and then we will die.” She turned her sorrowful eyes toward the burning sun. Famine and drought filled Samaria. We had no food left, anywhere. I buried my neighbors yesterday. Now we would be the next to die. We prayed to Jehovah, yet there was no rain, no relief from this drought. Death came closer with every second. I am Micah, of Israel.
“Lord, the brook has dried up.” The prophet looked down at the dust forming near his feet. The ravens that had brought him food cawed and flapped their wings. It was time to move on. The Lord had spoken to the prophet, Elijah, saying, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” Elijah was definitely not one to disobey the Lord, so he went to Zarephath straight away.
What he saw in Zarephath saddened him. Squinting through the dust, he saw the carcasses of animals lying by the road, bones bleached from the sun. Broken down homes stood somberly to remind passerbies of the lives that had been lost. Perhaps the saddest sight of all was the mass graves scattered all over the village, telling stories of lives taken early. It was all because of Israel’s sin. They had brought it upon themselves, turning away from God, and serving Baal.
“Mother! Mother! A man is coming up the road!” I yelled. “He is big and hairy, and looks like a wild man!” My mother looked up from where she was gathering sticks. Nervously grabbing her water pot, she said, “If he comes near, I will break this pot over his vermin-infested head!” This would not be the first pot she had broken, as we were considered “easy targets”, since there was no older male relative to protect us. My heart pounded as this man came closer, walking steadily in our direction. Mother nodded, and jumped toward the man. “Aiiiiyyyaaaahhhh!!!!” my mother yelled as she swung the pot. “CRASH!” She had missed the man by just a few feet. I stopped dead in my tracks. What would this man do now?
Elijah stared at the woman and her son in surprise. “Do not be afraid! I just seek to ask if you can spare a drink of water for this thirsty prophet.” The woman eyed him wearily before turning to dip a cup into her pot. “Perhaps a cake to quiet my rumbling stomach?” he inquired. The woman stared at him in disbelief. “There is no food. This is a famine. All I have left is a bit of meal in the bottom of the barrel along with a small cruse of oil, and that I will prepare for my son and I. We will eat the cake, and die.”
Elijah felt the Lord speak to him. “Fear not, go ahead and bake the cake, only let me eat it first, and then do likewise for you and your son.”
I knew my Mother felt torn. We both knew once that meal and oil ran out, we would die. Now this strange, wild-looking man came to us, declaring he was a prophet, asking for our last meal. It would be insanity to give this stranger our last bit of life.
But what if he was a prophet of Jehovah?