Jehoshaphat sat down in the dust of the valley – a very humbling experience for a king. The king of  Israel, Jeroham, and the king of Edom sat beside him, looking faint. None of the three nobles had had any water in over a day, and their armies had gone even longer without.

The king of Israel was the first to speak. “The LORD has called us three kings to give them into the hand of Moab. I am sure of it.”

“Perhaps we will find out,” Jehoshaphat commented. “Here comes His prophet.” Sure enough, a man wrapped nearly from head to toe in his cloak approached them.

“What do you three want with me?” Elisha spoke. “Won’t the pagan prophets help you?”

“Watch your tongue,” shot Jeroham.

Jehoshaphat, however, was more willing to take a blow. “The pagans cannot help us! It was the LORD who brought us out here – for our destruction! Won’t you help us?”

Elisha was tempted to leave them to die, but he would sooner seek the LORD in the matter. “Bring me a harpist.” The kings were shocked at such a seemingly selfish request, but they complied.

Half an hour later, with a melody soothing the prophet’s ears, he began to speak. “Thus says the LORD: Fill this valley with ditches.” There was silence. Even the harpist stopped playing.

“You fool!” shouted Jeroham. “Who will dig the ditches? Our men are half dead!”

“The LORD has spoken.” With these words, Elisha left their presence.

“What are we going to do?” the king of Israel whined.

“We’re going to follow Elisha’s words. Each of us should order our army to use the rest of their strength in digging ditches. If we dig them, surely the LORD can fill them!” said Jehoshaphat.

“I tell you: I will order my men to do so because you have said it, not that crazy cloaked prophet,” grunted the king of Edom.

And so, under strict orders, the armies of Edom, Israel and Judah dug. Many did indeed faint, and some died. Yet at nightfall, trenches covered the landscape.

The next morning, Jehoshaphat’s servant went into the king’s tent. “My lord!” he cried. “Water! Water’s flowing here from the direction of Edom!” Jehoshapat sprung up and looked outside. Sure enough, the trenches were filled to the top with clean water.

“You have obeyed the LORD.” The king was surprised to hear Elisha’s voice – he had not been summoned. “Now let your men drink and go; today God has given the Moabites into your hand.

*   *   *   *   *

It’s a small portion of Scripture in a place we don’t often read. Yet here we find a striking lesson in how God wants us to have faith.

Had Elisha said to the kings, “Behold, the LORD will send rain from heaven; you need not do anything,” they would have rejoiced. Yet this is often not how God works.

God wants us to have faith in Him.  Yet how can we truly exhibit faith if we are not willing to take the first step in expectation of God’s hand? As James says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

Are you in the desert right now, feeling as though you may die of thirst? Perhaps you feel as there is nothing you can do to move forward and survive. And indeed, God is waiting to flood you with crystal clear water! He just wants you to show your love and faith in Him by preparing for His provision, fully expecting it. “Dig some trenches,” He says. “You won’t regret it. Trust me.”