A SPRING SWEETENED BY SALT; AND WATER THAT LOOKED LIKE BLOOD
II Kings ii: 19, to iii: 27.
FTER Elijah had been taken up to heaven, Elisha stayed
for a time at Jericho; for, unlike Elijah, Elisha did
not live in the wilderness, away from the people. He
lived in the cities, and helped many by the power which
the Lord gave to him.
The people of Jericho said to Elisha, "This city stands
in a pleasant place; but the water of its spring is
very bitter, and causes disease and death; and the land
around it is barren, giving no fruit."
Elisha said to them, "Bring me a small new bottle, and
fill it with salt."
They brought it to him, and he poured the salt into the
fountain that gave water to the city, and said:
"Thus saith the Lord, ‘I have healed these waters; from
them there shall no more be death or unfruitfulness to
the land.' "
And the waters became pure and sweet from that time
onward. Many believe that the fountain which still
flows at the foot of the mountain near the ruins where
once stood Jericho is the one which was healed by the
prophet; and it is called "The Fountain of Elisha."
At this time Jehoram, the son of Ahab, was king of
Israel. He reigned twelve years, not so wickedly as
his father Ahab had ruled, but still doing evil in the
sight of the Lord. From the days of King David the
land of Moab, on the east of the Dead Sea, had been
under the control of Israel. The land was governed by
its own king, but he paid every year a large sum to
Israel. The king of Moab in the times of Ahab and
Jehoram was named Mesha. He had great
 flocks of sheep,
and he paid to the king of Israel every year the wool
of a hundred thousand sheep and of as many rams.
When King Ahab was dead, the king of Moab rose against
Israel, and tried to set his land free. Then King
Jehoram sent for King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and these
two kings gathered their armies, and made war on Mesha,
the king of Moab. They led their armies southward
through Judah, and then through Edom, on the south of
the Dead Sea, and from Edom into the land of Moab; and
with them was the king of Edom, who was under the king
While they were on their march they found no water,
either for the army or for the horses. And the king of
Israel said, "Alas! The Lord has brought together
these three kings, only to let them fall into the hands
of the king of Moab!"
But the good King Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here
a prophet of the Lord, so that we may ask of him to
show us the Lord's will?"
And one man said, "Elisha, the son of Shaphat, is here;
the man who poured water on the hands of Elijah, and
was his servant."
And Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the Lord is with
him; let us see him."
And the three kings went to find Elisha; but Elisha
said to the king of Israel, "Why do you come to me? Go
to the idol-prophets of your father Ahab and your
mother Jezebel, and ask them!"
And the king of Israel said to Elisha, "You must help
us; for the Lord has brought these three kings
together, to let them fall into the hands of the king
Then said Elisha, "As surely as the Lord of hosts
lives, before whom I stand, if Jehoshaphat, the king of
Judah, were not here, I would not look on you nor speak
to you. But now bring me one who can play on the harp,
And while the minstrel made music on his harp, the
power of the Lord came upon Elisha, and he said, "Thus
saith the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of ditches. For
the Lord tells me that you shall not see any rain, nor
hear any wind, yet the valley shall be filled with
water; and you shall drink, and your cattle and your
horses also shall drink. And the Lord shall give the
Moabites into your hand; and you shall take their
cities, and cut down their trees, and stop their wells,
and shall conquer their land."
And it came to pass as Elisha had said. They dug
 in the valley, and the next morning they found
them full of water, enough for all the host. And when
the men of Moab saw the water in the light of the sun,
it was red like blood. They said, one to another,
"That is blood; the three kings have quarreled, and
their armies have killed each other; now, men of Moab,
hasten to take the camp of the three kings, and all the
treasure that is in it!"
So the men of Moab came rushing unguarded and without
their arms. But the army of Israel and of Judah, and
of Edom, met them, and slew them, and won over them a
great victory. From that place they went on laying
waste the land of Moab, until the cities were taken,
and the whole land was made desolate. And Mesha, the
king of Moab, was in such distress, that, hoping to
please the god of his land, who was called Chemosh, he
took his oldest son, who was to have reigned in his
place, and killed him, and offered him up as a
burnt-offering. But all was in vain, for the Moabites
were still held under the power of the Israelites. The
story of this war between Israel and Moab is written
not only in the second Book of Kings in the Bible, but
also on a stone pillar, which was set up by the king of
Moab afterward. This pillar was found in the land of
Moab not many years ago, and the writing upon it was
read, showing that the history of this war as given in
the Bible is true.