Judah’s Thirst*
1 Kings 17:8-24

by Janine Mick Wills

 

“But Mother,” the small boy complained. “May I please have something to drink? I’m so thirsty.”

Jewish boy Judah
“May I please have something to drink?”

“Judah,” Sarah replied. “When we have enough wood for a fire, we will go home and then you may have a drink.”

“Why do we need a fire anyway? We don’t have enough flour to make a cake the size of my hand.” He held up a small brown fist to prove his point.

“God has always taken care of us,” his mother replied. “We must trust Him.” She lifted a finger and pointed to a nearby field. “Run over there and look. I will go home to fix our supper. Maybe I can find a few more sticks along the way.”

Judah knew better than to argue, so he ran to obey. As he bent over to pick up a tiny twig, the noonday sun beat down upon his head and back. He straightened up and stared at the cloudless blue sky.

dry, dead treesMonths had passed since rain had fallen upon the tiny village of Zarephath where Judah and his mother lived. Food had become scarce, and many of the townsfolk had moved away. Judah wished he and his mother could leave too, but his father had died, and there was no to care for them.

Thinking about the loss of his father and the hot dry weather made Judah angry. He kicked a rock sticking out of the ground. A cloud of dust swirled into the air, making him cough. “God, why don’t You help us?”

“Is that a proper way to talk to God?” a voice behind Judah asked.

Judah jumped. “Wh–Who are you?”

A bearded man dressed in old clothes stared down at Judah. “I am the prophet Elijah, and God gave me a message for you and your mother.”

Judah’s eyes widened in surprise. “You know God?”

Elijah smiled. “I have never met Him face-to- face, but He talks to me and tells me things that I share with other people.”

“My name is Judah.” Judah straightened his back and puffed out his chest. “I am named after one of the twelve sons of Israel. One day a great king will be born from the tribe of Judah.”

“Yes, I know and that King will also rule the world.” Elijah’s smile turned into a weary sigh. “I have walked many miles today. Would you please run along and get your mother for me?”

Judah nodded and ran like a deer toward home. When he arrived at the gate of the city, he saw his mother stooping over to pick up another stick. “Mother, there’s a man named Elijah out in the field. God told him to come and tell us something.”

Sarah dropped the sticks she carried, and with Judah close at her heels, she hurried to meet Elijah. When she reached the prophet, she fell upon her knees. “You have a message from God? Will He send rain soon?”

Elijah and widow of Zarapheth
“Please bring me some water.”

“Yes and no,” Elijah replied. “I do have a message, but God will not be sending rain anytime soon.” He licked his parched lips. “I have traveled a long way. Please get me a drink of water and while you are at it, bring me a piece of bread.”

Judah knew the prophet had no way of knowing his mother could not fulfill the request. She barely had enough for the two of them to eat. Judah’s heart ached at the sorrow filling her eyes.

“I am sorry,” Sarah said. “I have no bread, and there is only enough meal to make one small cake for my son and me. After that we have nothing.”

Elijah smiled. “Do not be sad. God loves you. Please go make that little cake and bring it unto me. God told me that until the rain comes again, He will keep both your flour barrel and your cruse of oil full. You and Judah will not go hungry.”

Judah and his mother stared at each other in disbelief. “Are you sure?” Sarah asked. Judah held his breath, waiting the prophet’s reply.

“Yes, I am quite certain,” Elijah said, “and God always tells the truth. You can be sure He will always do what He says.”

Judah began to laugh and then danced for joy. “Mother, did you hear that? You were right. We really can trust God.”

“Yes, Judah,” Sarah said, hugging Judah’s neck. “We can always trust God.”

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK AND THEN DISCUSS:

1. Why was Judah complaining? (He was thirsty because there had been no rain in a long time)
2. What were Judah and his mother collecting? (Sticks)
3. What did Judah kick in his anger? (A rock)
4. What do you do when you are angry?
5. Who saw Judah kick the stone? (Elijah)
6. What was Elijah’s job? (A prophet of God)
7. What did Elijah tell Judah to do? (Get his mother)
8. What did Elijah ask Sarah for? (A drink of water and some bread)
9. What did Sarah tell Elijah she had? (Only enough meal to make a small cake)
10. What did Elijah tell Sarah would happen if she made him the little cake? (God would make sure she had enough flour and oil until He sent the rain again.)
11. Do you trust God when things go wrong?
12. How can you learn to trust God more?

 

* The Bible does not give the names of this young boy and his mother. I have taken the liberty to name them Judah and Sarah. This Bible story gives the opportunity to talk to your child(ren)about hard times and how we can always trust God no matter what.

OTHER STORIES:
Joshua’s Lunch

 

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