In 2 Kings 3, we have the account of the wonderful deliverance of the three kings when they were trapped in a dry wilderness without water. We read how God sent water without any wind or rain; the water came in a mysterious way from the direction of Edom. In 2 Kings 3.16, Elisha the prophet told the three kings (the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom) to dig ditches to capture the water that would come. That way they and their armies and their beasts could drink the water and be saved.
“Make the valley full of ditches!” So the kings spent the whole day digging ditches in the valley. There was no sign of rain, no sign of clouds or wind; yet they dug. What does that mean? It means that you and I should dig our ditches, expecting God to answer in a wonderful way. It is exercising true faith. The problem with us is that we say that we have faith, but our faith is filled with doubts. When we start ‘digging our ditches’, we are doing so in the strong confidence that those ditches will be filled with water.
Digging ditches means expectant and assured faith. That is a very strong kind of faith. It is absolute trust in God and His Word (His promises are sure!). How do we translate ‘digging ditches’ into spiritual terms? First, it means we exercise steadfast faith, confident that God will answer ‘above our asking or thinking’, Eph 3.20. Second, since digging ditches involves hard labour, we too should labour in our prayers (remember Epaphras!). Praying is not easy; we need to travail in prayer. When Zion travailed, she brought forth her children! Prayer is hard work. It is labouring on our knees. Thirdly, it means we must get involved in working for the Lord. Too many of God’s children are passive; they attend meetings in church, but they do not take a share in God’s work. When we start praying, God will show us what to do. We can be witnesses for the Lord by sharing the gospel with others. We can help in various chores in the church premises. We can take up Sunday School classes for children and young people. We can even start preaching, and preaching demands a deep and thorough study of God’s Word. When we do our part, God will certainly do His.
God wants us to be active servants, always labouring for the Lord. Know ye not that your labour in the Lord is not in vain? 1 Cor 15.58. Speaking of the valley of Baca in Psalm 84.6, we are told that pilgrims (to Jerusalem) dug wells in that dry valley, so that other travellers could benefit. Paraphrased, the verse says, “As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make wells; the rain (from heaven) fills the pools.” We ought to dig our ditches and our wells, and God will pour down showers of blessing to fill the wilderness with rivers of living water. Are we going to step out in faith and do our part? “Work out your salvation” says the apostle. Paul laboured so much; he laboured day and night. We too are co-labourers with God. God wants us to work. We cannot be lazy, indifferent and passive Christians. We must like Mary and Persis in Romans 16 ‘labour much’ in and for the Lord!