by George H. Morrison

The Failure of the Brook
George H. Morrison
1 Kings 17:7

Where this brook Cherith was, we do not know exactly. It was one of the little tributaries of the Jordan. Somewhere in the uplands of the south it had its rise, and it chattered as it flowed to join the brimming river. It is notable that its name means "separated." It was the lonely, separated burn.1 There was that haunting sense of a deep peace about it that we have felt beside some little stream among the hills. For I know no place that is quite so full of God as a Highland burn far in the Highland mountains, where the running water speaks of unfailing life, and the hills of an eternity of calm. Here then, at the beginning of his career, the prophet Elijah was sent apart by God. Like Moses in Midian and like Jesus in the wilderness, God drew him into isolation for a season. For very rarely does God plunge His servants into the stir and dust of the great battle without a call to a period of quietude when they can take their measurements in silence.

Elijah, then, was sent to the brook Cherith by the express commandment of his God, and it must have been a strange and staggering thing for him when the waters of the brook began to fail. Had he been fugitive from duty it would have been very different. He would have taken that failure as his punishment. When we are false to duty, all the brooks dry up which once used to make music by our path. However dreary the road be, if a man is true to God the sound of water is never far away. It is when a man is false to God and duty that he walks continually by empty watercourses. But Elijah was not false to God or duty. It was the spirit of God that drove him out to Cherith. And God had said to him, "I shall feed thee there, and thou shalt drink of the brook and shalt be satisfied." Yet in spite of all that guidance and that promise in obedience to which Elijah had gone out-it came to pass after a while that the brook dried. Do you not think that was a staggering ...

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