Elisha’s friend and mentor stared back at him from every street corner and shop window. It seemed as though he couldn’t take a step without seeing that familiar face watching him from another poster. They all screamed the same announcement in big block letters:
The Lord’s prophet Elijah
When the posters first started going up, Elisha often looked at Elijah’s picture in fond remembrance. Although he missed his friend, he had been ready to assume Elijah’s role as a prophet of the Lord. Now the posters mocked him and reminded him that the people of Israel saw him not as the Lord’s servant, but as a cold-blooded killer.
The posters had been taunting him for three days when the police finally hauled him in.
“State your name for the record.” The prison guard sneered at Elisha with contempt.
“Elisha, son of Shaphat.”
“Where were you three days ago?”
“I was with my mentor, Elijah, on the banks of the Jordan.”
“What were you doing there?”
“Elijah said we were to go there because the Lord sent him there.”
The prison guard guffawed. “How convenient for you. You have God Himself as a witness. As soon as He tells me you’re innocent, I’ll let you go.”
“I am innocent, I swear. I loved Elijah.”
“Then why don’t you tell me where he is?”
“We were walking along the shore and suddenly a great chariot pulled by horses of fire appeared in the sky. They took Elijah up to Heaven.”
“And now you’re taking his place. You’ve even been wearing his cloak. I think a much more likely scenario is that you killed Elijah so you could take over his identity. Even your names are almost identical.”
Elisha wrapped the cloak tighter around his body and tears welled in his eyes. He had seen his mentor perform miracles with this cloak. “Come with me to the river. I’ll show you the burn marks in the grass. I can prove my innocence.”
“I have no time for this nonsense. The fire brigade will accompany you and report back to me.” With that, the guard spat at the ground in front of Elisha and left. Soon, a large man wearing a fire brigade uniform appeared.
“Let’s go,” said the fireman.
The two men traveled by foot, neither of them saying a word. When they arrived at the scene of Elijah’s disappearance, the sun was beginning to set and looked as though it was melting into the Jordan.
“Here. See the scorch marks.” Elisha pointed at the ground.
The fireman knelt down and inspected the blackened terrain. “Well, it is burned. But, this proves nothing. How am I supposed to know that God’s chariot of fire did this?”
“Because that’s what really happened.” Exhausted and afraid, Elisha dropped his head in his hands and began to weep.
The fireman looked at Elisha with pity. “Look, I don’t think you murdered your friend. But, the police do. They’re going to throw you in prison and possibly kill you. If there’s anything else you can tell me you need to do it right now. Otherwise, I must take you back.”
Elisha stood for several minutes with his eyes closed. Then he looked at the fireman and nodded. “Okay, I will show you. Follow me.”
Confused, the fireman followed Elisha to his farm. By the time they both stood standing outside the barn, a sliver of moon was the only thing visible in the night sky. The fireman even had to struggle to see Elisha’s face before him in the dark.
“What did you want to show me?” He wondered if maybe Elisha was guilty after all. Maybe he was going to produce the murder weapon.
“This one stayed behind…” Elisha removed a heavy beam from in front of the barn and heaved the door open.
The night air was suddenly filled with the brightest of holy light. The fireman gasped in wonder and dropped to his knees.
“My Lord, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
At the center of the barn stood a magnificent horse of fire. The horse reared up and pawed the air with his flaming hooves. Licks of fire spun off into the sky.
Elisha knelt down beside the fireman. “Now will you help me?”
Tears streamed down the fireman’s face. He couldn’t take his eyes off the fiery stallion. “Yes, of course I’ll help you. I am now the Lord’s servant.”
Then they bowed their heads and worshipped the God of Israel.
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