Saturday, May 21, 2016

Omer 2016 Day 29: The widow who fed Elijah

Day 29: Chesed in Hod, Love in Glory

Elijah the prophet, traveling through Israel during a drought, was directed by God to find a widow in Zarephath of Sidon who would feed him. When he found her and asked her for food, however, she replied:

"I have nothing baked, nothing but a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am just gathering a couple of sticks, so that I can go home and prepare it for me and my son; we shall eat it and then we shall die." (1 Kings 17:12)
Elijah insisted, promising that if she fed him, God would provide enough flour and oil to get her and her son through the drought, which they did. Their story continues with the death of her son sometime later, at which point she begs Elijah to save him and Elijah begs God until the boy comes back to life.

What is remarkable to me about this woman however is not the near-death (or return from death) experience of her son, but her initial response to Elijah quote above. Knowing that she did not have enough flour and oil for herself and her son to survive past their next meal, she nonetheless prepared to make that last meal before awaiting their inevitable deaths. She did not give up prematurely, but scraped together one last meal out of love for her son and for life, and she was rewarded for it.