One can see from the biblical story and looking to our reality today, that women are more vulnerable to drought; it becomes worse if the woman is a widow. She has to provide for her children all alone. The woman from the biblical story was no stranger to death. She had seen her husband die. And now she watched, helplessly, as everything around her died. The grass dried up. The trees dropped their leaves. The cows were almost skeletons. What an image! How to find resilience and hope in the midst of this despair?
In this story we can see that widows are looked down upon in the society and they are forced to carry the burden of their family and the society on their own. This can be evidenced by Elijah who went to stay with the woman despite the fact that she was even struggling to provide food for herself and her only son. The act by Elijah was unjust to the woman because he could have gone to stay with other people who were able to provide food and were not in such a trouble like this lonely widow.
Comparing the biblical story with today’s reality, one can also note that even today people in the community do not really care about widows, rather in most cases widows are the ones who nurse the sick in the community look after the homeless and do most of the charity work whilst in reality they are also a charity case.
This woman was supposed to be given food or be assisted by the community. However, today’s people are only concerned with themselves; women and vulnerable people are unfairly treated. Hence there was need for a justice treatment for this widow. This vulnerable woman could not say no to Elijah for he was a man of God. This happens a lot today - vulnerable people are abused daily for they fear to say no to their superiors or the so-called man of God. Hence there is need for justice for vulnerable people even in our day to day lives.
Rev. Elitha Moyo, ACT Alliance Zimbabwe Forum
The impressions, hopes and ideas expressed in this reflection are the contributions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.