Bringing the Text to Life

Wilderness Bathing 1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15a

Wilderness Bathing

God gives us a beautiful world in which to unplug, recharge and enjoy true fullness of life.

At a Glance

It's called "forest bathing." The practice originated in Japan in the early 1980s, where it's called Shinrin-yoku. Now tech-weary office workers are embracing the rituals in Seattle and other cities around the world. Elijah employs a version of this "bathing" when he flees to the wilderness. It was just what was needed to recharge his weary soul.

Editors' Pick

For material based on today's epistle text, see "A Letter that Changed History," June 23, 2013, at

Elijah is stressed.

After calling for God to send fire to vaporize the altar on Mount Carmel, he kills the prophets of Baal and flees for his life. Wicked queen Jezebel wants his head, which leaves him feeling frightened and depressed. At the beginning of the novel The Fifth Mountain, Elijah says, "I have served a Lord who now abandons me into the hands of my enemies."

So he goes a day's journey into the wilderness, and sits down under a solitary broom tree (v. 4). Clearly, he needs some wilderness...

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