Healing food for the digestive tract: They needed it due to the famine, the dearth which birthed a lack of mirth. For they had little food to eat and fasting afflicts the soul. In other words, it makes people sad. A merry heart acts like a medicine, but sadness breeds sickness.
That’s the problem Elisha encountered in Gilgal. The prophets’ sons felt the dearth because the land had no worth. It didn’t produce much food. To eat, they couldn’t lounge but had to scrounge. Though I don’t know exactly what it was like, I can imagine it in modern terms with a few silly twists. that said, here’s my fictional rewrite of the scenario:
Twenty men sat at a table, staring into empty bowls. Stomachs were growling loudly, which made it hard to think.
Elisha, the super spiritual man of God, raised his hand to quiet them. “Hush, puppies!” He turned to his trusty servant Gehazi. “Their groans are getting on my nerves. Is this how Moses felt?”
“Well, actually, Moses had over a million people complaining at him,” replied Gehazi. “The volume level must have been at least ten decibels higher.”
Elisha shook his head. “Okay, you have a point. He went through more stress than me. There’s no sense comparing woes, but we need a solution.”
Gehazi shrugged. “Ear plugs?”
“No,” Elisha answered, smacking his head with his hand. What didn’t his servant get? “It’s not about achieving noise relief but providing healing food for their digestive tracts. Now put on a pot and cook some stew while I take a much-needed prayer break.”
After all, miracles were Elisha’s business. Gehazi took care of practical matters.
Unfortunately, Gehazi didn’t exactly excel at cooking. If he had known what he was doing, he would have given his sous chefs proper instructions when it came to “bare bones” grocery shopping. But he assumed that because they had prophetic blood, they could tap into God’s wisdom without error, thus resulting in a stunning concoction.
When it comes to healing food, it helps to know your ingredients. But Gehazi’s main sous chef had no clue when it came to picking produce.
“Fetch me some herbs,” Gehazi told him.
The prophet’s son looked perplexed. “Herbs? How many guys with the name ‘Herb’ do you want me to find?”
Gehazi rolled his eyes. “Not guys called ‘Herb.’ Herbs as in the kind of herbs you eat.”
“Oh. Got it, dude,” the young man answered dreamily.
Against his better judgment, Gehazi let him loose with zero supervision. After all, he might not be the brightest young man but what harm could he do? He was a prophet’s son and prophet’s sons knew how to hear from God, right?
Two hours later, the young man strolled into the kitchen, his arms full of strange but colorful-looking gourds. “Sorry I’m late,” he apologized. “I’m afraid I got a little lost (Stupid bird! I thought it knew where it was leading me!) But I’m pleased to say I’ve found my way and I have now arrived.”
“Arrived? Yeah, right,” Gehazi muttered. “I waited all day for this?” He didn’t trust his sous chef, but the starving men were eyeing him hungrily. He couldn’t stand they pressure they put on him, so he put the young man and his gullible friends to work slicing up the weird vegetables. The chunks made quite a splash as they tossed them in the pot.
The so-called “health food” gave off a rotten stench as it cooked, but the men didn’t care. “For it to smell so bad must mean it’s really good for us,” the prophets’ sons figured. “Just like a prophetic word no one wants to hear.” The idea that prophetic words could bring cheer to the ear didn’t register with them due to the extreme dearth they had been suffering.
When the time came to eat, Gehazi said a prayer, even though it wasn’t his “gift”. Where was Elisha? Somehow Gehazi felt abandoned but he did his best, something to the tune of “Bless this mess and pass the stomach pump.”
“What stomach pump?” one young man asked. “Why do we need a stomach pump?”
Gehazi shrugged. “I can’t explain why I said that.”
“I feel like throwing up,” said a young man with a very green face. He ran outside to get relief and track down the coveted pump. Other prophets’ sons fell off their chairs like flies.
“This is a disaster. What crazy health food nut poisoned the pot?” Gehazi asked.
The guy who did it shrank back in his seat. “A little voice told me the colorful gourds hanging from that wild vine would spice up the meal in ways we couldn’t imagine! I thought I had heard from God. But perhaps it wasn’t His voice that I heard.”
Gehazi sighed. “So, in your pride, you caved in to the lust of the eyes and now our flesh is suffering. Don’t you know a poisonous plant when you see one?”
“I was looking for healing food,” replied the sorry sous chef.
At this point, Elisha stepped into the room, holding his nose. He frowned at the scene. Then he looked up to heaven. “God help these poor sick men who stink of false doctrine. They need help and they need it now!”
“I just wish the so-called prophet’s son – who shall remain nameless – had used more discernment,” Gehazi muttered through clenched teeth. “He’s fired as a sous chef!”
Elisha sighed. “This isn’t a cooking contest. I don’t care who’s right or wrong. Just get me some flour.”
“What sort of flowers?” asked the fired sous chef who had failed to hear from God.
“No, not flowers. Flour,” said Elisha. “Flour as in ‘meal.’”
The young man drooled. “Makes me hungry – at least it would if I wasn’t feeling so sick to my stomach.”
Elisha walked to a cupboard and found a jar of special meal. “This is what I’m talking about. It’s healing food.” He threw a handful into the deadly pot and watched it bubble up. A fragrant steam arose.
Soon the young men seated at the table began to revive. “What sort of meal is that?” one asked.
Elisha grabbed a wooden spoon and stirred. “It’s called ‘God’s Word Bread Meal.’ This healing food is made of all-supernatural ingredients packed with powerful grains of truth. Of course, like everything God makes, it tastes exceptionally good. Plus, it contains essential vitamins such as ‘Man does not live by bread alone but by every word God speaks’ (Deuteronomy 8:3), ‘The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want’ (Psalm 23:1), and ‘God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved’ (John 3:17). Finally, let’s not forget the main essential ingredient: ‘By His stripes you are healed (Isaiah 53:5)’.”
The prophets’ sons hadn’t heard of those last two versed because they hadn’t been written yet. However, those of us who know the story understand it through the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 22:29 as he took the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples:
“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
His broken body is the bread that heals us.
“But it doesn’t do you any good unless you mix it with faith, is it?” asked Gehazi, nodding to the stew to which the “God’s Word Bread Meal” had been added.
“Yes, and the best way to mix it with faith in this case is to eat it,” Elisha said. “Smell the Word; taste, eat and chew. Savor it and digest it. That’s the best way to receive the healing food.”
Before he even began to dish the fragrant food into the bowls, the guys’ eyes lit up. At first, some young prophets’ sons had trouble swallowing the stew due to the poison that had gotten in their systems by eating from the wild gourd vine, but as they ate they revived.
They had tasted the resurrection power of God’s goodness and had overcome.
This story, based on the account in II Kings 4:38-41, contains an important lesson: God’s Word will heal you if you’ll feed on it and apply it to the poisoned areas in your life. Then you can rest easily, knowing it won’t harm you anymore.