There was a college of the prophets located in Gilgal near Jordan, in which Elisha was a visiting professor. Everyone flocked to him for the advantage of his instructions, counsels and prayers.
Over time, their number in this college increased, Elisha’s miracles doubtless drew in many. The hostel and meeting venue, which they built in a tent fashion with oak wood and thatched roofs, were too small to contain them. So they approached Elisha to inform him about their plight and plans.
“Permit us to go to Jordan where each of us can get a beam of wood and let us make a tent house there where we can meet and dwell.” These prophets were so poor that they had not wherewithal to hire workmen, but must leave their studies and work for themselves; nor to buy tools, but must borrow of their neighbours. They were industrious men, willing to take pains. They desired not to live like idle drones, upon the labour of others, but to be permitted to work with their own hands.
“Go!” Elisha said, permitting them. They stood before him, staring at themselves for a while, then spoke again, requesting, “Please come with your servants, not only to advise us in any exigence, but to keep good order among us, that, being under your eye, we may behave as we ought.” This they requested showing the reverence they had for Elisha. They were not willing to go fell tree without his company. Elisha responded, “Okay then, I will go.”
They walked down to river Jordan as one company, and in no time got to the river side. They divided themselves into groups and started working. Some trees were by the river, having their trunks shooting out of the water. Others were some distant from the water. They had to climb the trees with the help of a rope, tied around their waist and the tree trunk, and systematically using it to climb, reaching the tree branches.
One of the prophet was on one of those trees by the river. As he hewed the stem, the axe head fell off from the handle into the water. This man shouted in dismay, raising an alarm that attracted everyone’s attention. He came down from the tree and went to the river bank. At this time, others had stopped working and came to meet him. Elisha who was walking about supervising their work was also now standing before him.
He said to Elisha, “Sir, help me. I’m finished. The axe, it was borrowed.” Elisha placed his left hand on his right shoulder and said, “Relax, do not be perturbed. Where did it fall?” The young prophet pointed to the spot on the river. Then Elisha left them, cut a stick from a nearby tree, came back and threw it into that spot on the river.
Then suddenly, the axe head surfaced on the water and started floating. Elisha immediately commanded him, “Lift it out!” Then the man bent down, stretched forth his hand and grabbed it.
Food for thought: (1) We ought to take good oversight of the belongings of others, left in our care. (2) Expect the miraculous in your every (mundane) activity; for the God of nature is not tied up to its laws. (3) God’s grace can raise the stony iron heart which has sunk into the mud of this world.
Scriptural reference (s): 2 Kings 6:1-6;