Question

There was a severe drought (1 Kings 17:7; 18:2). But before Elijah prayed for fire to come down from heaven he doused the sacrifice with water three times until it filled the trenches around the altar. Where did the water come from?

Answer

1 Kings 17:7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.

1 Kings 18:2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria.

1 Kings 18:32-35 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood. Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

Man and beast were still living, so water was still in supply. The servants did not complain there was not enough (1 Kings 18:32-35). There were springs and brooks around the land. 1 Kings 18:5 states, "Ahab had said to Obadiah, "'Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.'" Apparently, the mission was successful.

Amazingly, after the prophets of Baal were destroyed at the Kishon Valley (1 Kings 18:40), the drought ended (1 Kings 18:41) and:

1 Kings 18:43-45 Go and look toward the sea, he told his servant. And he went up and looked. There is nothing there, he said. Seven times Elijah said, Go back. The seventh time the servant reported, A cloud as small as a mans hand is rising from the sea. So Elijah said, Go and tell Ahab, Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you. Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.

Don't miss the irony. Baal, the Canaanite god of water and storm, had a drought, his prophets were slaughtered at a brook, and then there was water - much water.

Yahweh is the God of water. He is the God of Creation. He is also the God of the new creation of the soul - born again (John 3:1-8). He is the Living Water (Jer. 2:13; 17:13; John 4:10; 7:38; Rev. 7:17). "The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God" (1 Kings 18:39).

Related Reading:

Because it Had Rained, by Mark Futato, Part I and Part II.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).