The creek bed was dry. The draught was having dire consequences as the stink of death hung in the air.
After months at Cherith, in the southeastern corner of the region, God inexplicably directed Elijah to go to Zarephath, in the distant northwestern corner. The journey was long, every mile through territory patrolled by Ahab’s henchmen. “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters were nailed to every tree and fence post.
“The word of the Lord came to him: ‘Get up, go to Zarephath that belongs to Sidon and stay there. Look, I have commanded a woman who is a widow to provide for you there.’ So Elijah got up and went to Zarephath” (1 Kings 17:8-10). God protected Elijah every day, for every step.
Tired from his journey, Elijah walked into the little village and spied a widow. Somehow, Elijah knew she was the one that God had directed him to. Without introduction or small talk, the prophet announced, “Please bring me a little water in a cup and let me drink ... (and) bring me a piece of bread” (1 Kings 17:11).
Her heartbreaking response was, “As the Lord your God lives, I don’t have anything baked—only a handful of flour in the jar and a bit of oil in the jug. Just now, I am gathering a couple of sticks in order to go prepare it for myself and my son so we can eat it and die.” (1 Kings 17:12). The draught was so devastating, the famine so severe, that the poor widow was planning to share her last morsal of bread with her young son, and both would lie down to eventually die of starvation.
God had a better plan! “Don’t be afraid; go and do as you have said ... The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land” (1 Kings 17:14).
Obediently, the widow scooped a handful of flour from the bottom of the canister. She poured just enough oil from the jar to complete the recipe. The next morning, she did it again... and again. “The woman, Elijah, and her household ate for many days. The flour jar did not become empty, and the oil jug did not run dry, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through Elijah” (1 Kings 17:14).
The draught lasted for “three years and six months” (James 5:17). We don’t know how long Elijah stayed at Cherith, maybe six months. If so, then the tiny bit of flour and oil lasted for thirty-six months, one-hundred-fifty-six weeks, one-thousand-ninety-five days.
The Word of God promises a never-ending supply! “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance”(John 10:10). “God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). God “is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). “God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) because His “grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Always!