'WHEN YOU GIVE TO HIM I SHALL GIVE BACK TO YOU'.
These were the words she kept hearing in her mind, day in and day out. She had no idea what it meant, but she could not doubt that she had heard it. In her dreams, in her thoughts, and in her waking mind.
She hoisted her baby son securely on her back with the cloth she had tied around her. She wiped the sweat of her brow as she collected water from the well and brought it back to her home. She had not even enough water to wash her feet. She stepped upon shards of stone, but was oblivious to the pain. Her dirt caked feet told its own story.
Back at home, she laid her pail of water onto the floor as she let her baby boy down to crawl and experience the world around him. He ran to the pail of water as she shooed him away, throwing a wooden spoon at his feet for him to play with.
In the kitchen, she took out the ingredients she needed to make the bread she had been planning to make to eat. She looked at the dismal supply and supposed it was enough for her and her baby boy.
She stood mixing and kneading, rolling the pastry with water into dough ready to be baked. As she placed the bread in her oven, under her breath she prayed.
'Dear Lord,' She whispered. 'Be my Provider'.
She heard a knock on the door the moment her prayer had left her lips. Her flip flops made a methodical sound against the floor as she made her way to see who the uninvited guest was. There at her door stood before her a man. His lips were parched and dry, his eyes hollow from exhaustion.
'Dear Woman' he said, 'I have traveled far, may I please be so humble enough to ask for some water?'
She immediately went to get him some water to drink to sooth his parched throat. His long deep gulps were enough to show that he had been thirsting for quite some time.
'Please, Dear Woman', the man continued. 'Can you spare me some of that bread I can smell coming from your kitchen? For as well as being thirsty, I am also very hungry'.
She paused. She looked back at her baby boy on the floor licking the remnants of the dough from the mixing spoon she had given him. She thought about herself and her baby boy.
'I am sorry dear Sir, I am afraid, I only have enough bread for me and boy here'.
The man, nodded, understanding her, he turned and left.
She went back inside her home to check on the bread that she was baking. She was amazed at the fire that raged from the oven, enough to scorch her face.
'WHEN YOU GIVE TO HIM, THEN I SHALL GIVE BACK TO YOU'.
There it was.
The once soft small voice that whispered to her, was no longer soft and small, instead it was encased in a burning desire to be heard. And, as if a whisper had caressed her, the hairs on the back of her neck reacted.
'Please!' She ran back and opened her front door and could just make out the silhouette of the stranger walking away in the dark.
'Please, come back' She cried out. ' I have only a small amount of food. It won't be enough for you and my little boy, but the both of you can eat. I will share what I have with you and him'.
She, her little boy and the man sat at her table, as she tore apart the meager piece of bread between the stranger and her little boy. They ate as she looked on longingly, her own eyes hollow, her stomach craving fulfillment.
The man ate his bread,shared it with her little boy, aware that she was lacking, but he ate anyway. Afterwards, he thanked her, then bid her farewell and left.
She cradled her little boy as he cried for more food and milk. She rocked him as she cursed the man who she so willingly allowed into her home, that only left her wanting more provision.
She opened her kitchen cupboards as she cradled her nursing boy to find, that there was an abundance of flour, sugar, milk,and ready made bread. Not only that, there was meat, fruit, vegetables and so much more than she could ever desire.
She got on to her knees as she heard those words again:
'WHEN YOU GIVE TO HIM, I SHALL GIVE BACK TO YOU'.
1 Kings 17: 8- 16