And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook…. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. (1 Kings 17:2-4,7)
Here is this man out in the wilderness, and he goes to the brook every morning and notices that it is going down a little bit more each day. All he had to do was put a peg in the water to note how much it went down each day. Then he could figure out how many days it would be before he starved to death or died of thirst. Having the mathematical measurement, anyone with common sense would know that on a certain day the end would come.
This is the sin of statistics. Today the condition of a church is often determined by statistics. If you go to a church meeting and observe that the offering has been good, new members have been received, and there is increased attendance, the church is considered a howling success — and that may not be the true picture at all. Now Elijah could have figured very closely the time he was going to die — he could have done it mathematically. But, you see, the cold figures of mathematics do not take into account the spiritual fire that is there. You cannot put the condition of the church in the form of a bank statement. You cannot measure it on a computer. Even a revival is not determined by numbers.
When Elijah looked at that little brook which was getting smaller and smaller he learned a spiritual lesson. He saw that his life was a dried-up brook. He was nothing — he was just a brook, a channel, through which living water could flow. The Lord Jesus Christ says, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13,14). You are an empty brook and do not have any water of life. It is only as the water of life, the Word of God, flows through you that you can be a channel of blessing. Elijah had to learn that "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:27). God was telling Elijah, "You are not a big, strong, rugged individual. You are no stronger or better than that dried-up brook. You will have no strength until the water of life flows through you."
You and I are just dried-up brooks unless the Word of God is flowing through us.
—From Edited Messages on 1 Kings by J. Vernon McGee