Giving to strangers

In this mornings reading from Kings ( 1 Kgs 17:10-16 ) we find a widow, who is going about her daily life and she comes across Elijah  who begs from her a cup of water.   This is the Middle East where temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees.   More likely that he would have needed a gallon or so in order to replentish the fluids in his body from just milling around.  He only, however asking for just a cup of water.  At least at first.

As she was trodding off to get the water for the prophet, he cries out after her to also ask her for a little piece of bread.   The widow told him that she didnt have enough to give him and that she only had a handful of flour and little bit of oil.   She was going to prepare the last of her food for she and her son, and that aferward they would die.  Most likely meaning that there would be no more food so they would starve to death.    Elijah says to the woman, go and do what you planned to do but first make me a tiny cake and then proceed as you planned.

The net result being that all three of them had food enough to eat for over a year. because of the faith of the widow.

There are many parts to this story.  The first thing we notice is the widow, who is poor and she is busy trying to care for her family.  She takes time out of her preparations, for the stranger who asks her for a cup of water.  She take the time to give of herself, her time to provide water for this stranger.    After she agrees, and runs off to get it for him, he presses her more for bread.  She does not have almost anything at all.  Confident that she is going to die, of starvation she willingly gives of her need.

The reading that goes along with this is the parable of the giving at the temple.. a widow gives only two coins but Jesus tells the apostles that she has given more than the wealthy man who gave alot of money because the widow gave all she had.

The other side of this story is a story of faith.  The widow believing that the man who asked her for water was a prohpet and God was speaking to her.  She believed. She followed God.  She gave to the stranger in her midst.

We should recognize God in the stranger we meet.  Follow our faith and tend to the needs of the brother and sister in our midst.


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