The monks read the Bible in a very specific way. They asked: where is the remedy introduced in the Bible? How is the atmosphere in which the remedy is working? How does the biblical account differ from other medicines of the same time?
The first bird in the Bible is the raven (Genesis 8: 7). It is placed in a state of complete hopelessness.
We can read them in Genesis 8: 7ff. Noah and his family had spent 40 days in the ark. All life around him was lost in the deluge. Only his little ark was swimming on the water alone.
Very similar to the Egyptian medicine of the time. Many representations of ravens were found in the pharaohs' graves - an expression of the hopelessness of death.
But in the perception of the Old Testament, the raven does not return to Noah. He does not feel home there. A sign of hope in the face of death is hinted very quietly. Noah was wrong. The situation in the ark is the situation of the dove - symbol of the presence of God and his merciful divine love. She returns to the ark.
Another situation of hopelessness and death: the prophet Elijah has to predict the godless king Ahab a five-year period of drought. It shouldn't rain a single time in these long years. Let’s let the biblical story speak for itself:
Elijah Fed by Ravens (1. Kings 17, 2-6)
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: „Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Keith Ravine, east of the river Jordan. I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there."
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Keith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and states there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
God reverses the situation. The ravens are not messengers of death. They become tools of divine love. They help God to care for his prophet.
Here comes a second topic of the raven remedy: hunger and thirst. Patients who need the Raven remedy are insatiable hunger:
1. Kings 17, 10-14. Some time later the brook dried up…Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah…So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked: „Would you bring me a little water in a jar, so I may have a drink?“ As she was going to get it, he called, „And bring me, please, a piece of bread.“
„As surely as the Lord your God lives,“ she replied. „I do not have any bread - only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it - and die.“
God does not want to help the prophet alone, but involves the widow in the divine aid program again in the face of hopelessness and death.
Elijah said to her: „Do not be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me and then make sth for yourself and your son. For this is, what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: „The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.“
In the third part of the story, the subject of death and dying is explained to the bitter end. The Old Testament already points to Jesus Christ and his great healing power, which can raise even the dead.
1. King 17, 17ff: Some days later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah: „What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?“
„Give me your son,“ Elijah replied. Her took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, „Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widowI am staying with, by causing her son to die?“
Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, „Lord my God, let this boys life return to him!“
The Lord heard Elijah´s cry, and the boy´s life rteturned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, „Look, your son is alive.“
Then the woman said to Elijah, „Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.“
Jesus Christ continues Elijah's topic: Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. (Luke 12, 24)
In our day and age we need this divine word: We humans try to protect ourselves against difficult situations. But the raven shows hope in the face of death. Christen believe: Jesus Christ has risen from death!
How are "birds" used in medicine? Enjoy later!