A familiar story can lose some of its punch over the years, and some things I just never got before. So it is with the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
Disclaimer: I am shamelessly plagiarizing much of this from our awesome youth pastor, Andrew Williams. Thank you God for sending him to us.
Many of us have heard the story. The people of Israel following idols. The prophet declares that there will be no rain. After three years there is a showdown, Elijah the prophet of God versus the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. Winner takes all, all the people that is.
The challenge, both set up altars with an animal sacrifice on them. Whichever one goes up in flames wins. The prophets of Baal and Asherah go first. For hours, they chant and rave, even coming to the place where they are cutting themselves and going crazy. Nothing happens.
Then it’s Elijah’s turn. But he starts by telling them to pour water on the sacrifice, but not just a little bit, dig a trench around the altar and pour so much on that everything is soaked and the trench is filled. Elijah prays and boom! Everything is burned up. And I mean everything.
But hang on. I’ve heard it told that the water was to make it more difficult for the sacrifice to burn but that doesn’t make sense. Somehow, the fire would have more trouble with burning things if they’re wet. That never seemed to fit for me but I couldn’t understand why they poured water on it when they were already in a drought. Where did they get the water from anyway?
It is one thing to watch God do something miraculous. I stay on the outside and watch. It is another thing to be His vehicle of transformation, His conduit of power and grace. I can’t stay on the sidelines for that. I have to jump in, and it will cost me.
For the people of Israel it cost them their most precious commodity of the time.
Where did they get it from? From the last bits, the last drops that they could survive on. It took them becoming so desperate for a move of God that they would risk their lives to see Him show up. And so they poured out.
I’m desperate for God right now. I need Him to move in my life. I need Him to act, to show up.
You need it too.
What’s your water?
Pour it out.