A short while after the Prophet Elias prayed for there to be no rain,God told him to go dwell in
Zarephath of Sidon,where a widow would provide for him (vid. 3 Kg.17:1-9).
So, he arose and went to Zarephath.When he came
to the gate of the city, there was a widow gathering firewood.Elias called to her and said, “
Please bring me a little water in a cup so I can drink.”
She went to get it, and Elias called after her and said,“Please bring me a morsel of bread in your
hand.” But the woman said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have any bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar. As you see,I am gathering a couple of sticks, so I can go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” But Elias said to her, “
Take courage, and do as you say, but make me a small cake from it first and bring it to me.
Afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord,‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, and the jar of oil shall not run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’” So
the woman went and did it. Thus she and he and her children ate for many days.
The bin of flour was not used up, and the jar of oil did not run dry, according to the word the Lord spoke by Elias(3Kg.17:10-16).
Do you see how many blessings almsgiving gives rise to? Did this woman perhaps know that the person standing before her was a prophet and a saint of God? No! Not in the least!
All she saw was a poor and destitute fellow human
being. However, because she was merciful and hospitable, she preferred to give the little food she had remaining to this needy and hungry person rather than keep it for herself and her children. She took bread away from her children's mouth in order to feed this stranger. At the first request of the Prophet Elias, she deprived herself and instead gave to him. But take a close look at the blessings
she received from God in return.
During that time of drought and famine, there were many rulers and wealthy people who possessed vast amounts of gold and silver; however, they were dying of starvation. This poor widow, on the other hand, on account of her
merciful almsgiving had adequate food to eat and water to drink: “And the bin of flour was not used up, and the jar of oil did not run dry, according to the word the Lord spoke by Elias.”
Not only did she receive this blessing, but
when her son fell ill and died, the Prophet Elias resurrected him: “Now after this, the son of the woman who owned the house became sick, and his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him...
But Elias said to her, ‘Give me your son’...
Then he called on the Lord and said, ‘O Lord my God, let the soul of this child come back to him.’ So it happened, and the child cried out.
Elias took the child...and gave him to his mother
and said, ‘Behold, your son lives.’ Then the woman said to Elias, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God, and the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth’” (3 Kg. 17:17-24).
From the life of the Prophet Elias