The Brook Dried Up


Elder Bill Walden (dec)l


In the 17th Chapter of 1st Kings, Elijah the Tishbite comes on the scene and God moves the events swiftly along. Elijah is emboldened by the Spirit of God to stand before tyrannical Ahab with the prediction of a still-worsening drought. Elijah’s name, “Jehovah is God,” was a solemn reminder to the evil prophet. Immediately after delivering his God-sent message, God then told him to “get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.” Here he did according to the Lord’s commandment, and God, who cannot lie, honored His word; the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening and he drank of the brook (verse 6).

And it came to pass after awhile, that the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land (verse 7). This statement has a solemn note. Elijah is fairing well under the providential eye of his God, with daily bread and fresh meat and a flowing stream in time of a drought that was so severe there was not a drop of dew. We are reminded of the ancient expression of grief: “alas -- what shall we do?”

We are content many times just to settle in. It’s hard to move on in our lives. It is probably experiential with each of us on some occasion in our lives when we consider our next move with uncertainty, but God moves us on in our spiritual journey from the flowing brook to the widow’s house, whose circumstances also seem hopeless. No doubt the prophet was strengthened by this experience. He saw the miracle-working power of God in dealing with the poor widow as much as he saw it in the way God provided for him at the brook. “But the brook dried up;” yet, God’s mercies still flowed on to sustain and refresh him.

I was raised in the mountains of East Tennessee and grew up where brooks ran down the mountains and hollows. These were my “stomping grounds“. One particular brook still runs clear in my mind as I write this. It caused the fern, Sweet Williams, and other flowers to grow, and it was always cool there. You could smell the flowers and hear the stream before you really saw it. In the summertime the stream would stop flowing, the greenery and flowers would fade until another time. Although I knew the stream would probably stop flowing, it was always a sad time. Little did I know then I would be reflecting on those scenes over a half-century later and be reminded of God’s word in describing our own mortality. God has His own way of strengthening us on our spiritual, though sometimes troublesome, journey.

“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings” (Deuteronomy 32:11). The eagle has the most unique way of teaching her young to prepare for their lives. The scripture above gives a very detailed description of this process. Studies have been made of the fascinating way in which she plucks the down from her nest, exposing them to worsening conditions, and her young become very uncomfortable. She also ceases her daily delivery of food. Finally, she flutters over them with her wings and as they fall from the nest she swoops down and bears them up, saving them from falling to the earth below. This is repeated again and again until in their struggles they finally learn to fly and mount upwards, even above the storms, to fly in the sunshine.


The Lord has promised that “… they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). There is blessed rest for the children of God more glorious than Ruth found in the field of Boaz. “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (Ruth 2:12)


In Sweet Hope.