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Elisha, bitter water and bears

Elisha faces problems of undrinkable water and a mob of bullies.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
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When Elisha took over as the new prophet for God, his first miracle was done with water. This water miracle he did was performed at the Jordan river. Elisha slapped Elijah’s cloak down and the water parted for him, so he could walk across without getting his feet wet. – Slide 1
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A few days later, a crowd of young men, who were all learning how to be prophets, came to see Elisha. <br/>‘We’re thirsty!’ they complained. ‘We’ve found a good place to live, but the water there tastes horrible and it is making the farming land unproductive.’ – Slide 2
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Elisha knew what to do. First he prayed, then he told the young men to get a jar. ‘It has to be a brand new jar,’ Elisha insisted. ‘And I want you to fill it with salt!’ As soon as the jar was brought to him, Elisha tipped the salt out, into the polluted spring water. – Slide 3
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‘This is what the Lord says,’ announced Elisha. ‘I have healed these waters. They will be fresh and good for drinking. Never again will this water cause death or make the land unproductive.’ <br/>And guess what? The water not only became pure, but stayed pure! – Slide 4
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Elisha then walked on to Bethel. But Bethel was a dreadful place. It was a city full of idols and it had calves, made out of gold, which hundreds of people bowed down to and worshipped. – Slide 5
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As Elisha walked along, he was confronted by a large violent mob of idol-worshipping young men. <br/>They began to call him names, and make fun of God. They started to chant a mocking song, ‘Go up baldy! Go up baldy!’ <br/>Now let me remind you, it is a very serious offence to mock one of God’s prophets. – Slide 6
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Elisha turned towards these young people laughing at God and threatening him, then said, ‘May the Lord defend me, and judge you!’ At that moment two big bears came running from the woods. – Slide 7
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The bears ignored Elisha but attacked the rebellious young men in this violent mob. Their chants became screams as they ran in fear.  Some escaped without injury but the bears mauled forty-two of them. No-one returned to mock Elisha or his God again. – Slide 8
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From there, Elisha travelled on towards Carmel. By now his reputation had grown. Word got around that God worked miracles through him just as He had done through Elijah. People respected him and many feared the powers God had given him. – Slide 9
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Slide 10