There are at least six different types of bodies of water found on the Earth. While some are often named the same as others, their characteristics can be quite different. For example, the largest of these bodies are lakes, seas and oceans, which are often named based upon their size and depth, and whether or not they are surrounded by land (lakes), connected to other bodies of water (seas), or appear to have no definite boundaries at all (oceans).
The smallest body of water is called a brook. A brook is a small stream that flows above ground downward to a larger body of water. Unlike a river that can run deep and whose current is usually quite fast, brooks are extremely shallow and slow moving, and often characterized by the bed of rocks found beneath them.
And while they can be a steady source of water, without substantial rainfall, brooks are the first to dry up, sometimes in a matter of days. Which makes the backstory on how the prophet Elijah’s public ministry began very interesting.
In 1 Kings 17, Elijah informs King Ahab, one of the worst to rule over nation of Israel, that God was going to cause a famine that would last a total of three years as a result of the king’s corrupt and unrepentant behavior. After delivering this fateful message, God provides Elijah with some clear instructions on how he is to sustain himself during the coming famine:
“Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” – 1 Kings 17:2-4 (NLT)
Despite the fact that the Jordan River at that time was nearly 124 miles long and over 10 feet deep, filled with nearly 40 species of fish and bordered by over 160 different kinds of plants and trees, God told Elijah to hide by a brook, a small body of water that would have been the most vulnerable in the event of a famine.
While the river could have easily provided enough food and water for Elijah to survive, there was one thing the brook provided that the river could not: Faith.
As believers, we must always remember that faith is never based upon what we see, but rather on what we know God has said. When we refuse to appreciate the small brooks and blessings God gives us day after day, every river of provision we find on our own will eventually run dry.