Elijah had been camping at the little brook for a long time. But the water no longer splashed merrily along. There had been no rain. And the water in the little brook was almost gone.
Elijah studied the clear blue sky. Not a rain cloud in sight. Elijah knew why. God’s special people were still praying to Baal for rain. God wanted them to understand that He was the one who sent rain—not an idol. It would not rain until God said so.
Suddenly God spoke to Elijah. “Go to the village of Zarephath,” He said. “A widow woman there will feed you.” (A widow is a woman whose husband has died.) Elijah quickly started down the dusty road to Zarephath.
When Elijah reached the village gates, he saw a woman gathering small sticks. Elijah was hot and thirsty from his long, long walk. “Would you please bring me a cup of water?” he asked the woman. “And please bring me a little bread, too.”
The woman turned to Elijah. With tears in her eyes she said, “I don’t have any bread in my house. I have only a handful of flour and a little oil. I am going home to make a fire with these few sticks. I will cook one last meal for my son and me. Then we will die, because we will have nothing left to eat.”
Elijah smiled at the woman. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Go ahead and cook the meal, but first make me a little loaf of bread. God promises that there will always be plenty of flour and oil in your containers, and you will not run out of food until He sends the rain again and new food begins to grow.”
The widow woman believed the words of the Lord. So she did as Elijah asked. She went home and began to cook. Elijah sat and sipped his water as the woman made a little loaf of bread for him. He watched as she measured the right amount of oil and flour. He saw her mix them together to make bread dough. Soon he could smell the bread as it slowly baked. What a treat it was to have good, fresh bread again.
For more than three years there was no rain, and nothing could grow. But the widow’s flour and oil never ran out. God had provided food and water in the past. And He would provide it now for Elijah and for the kind widow and her son.