For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
The itinerant prophet Elisha often traveled through the Jezreel Valley also called the Plain of Megiddo in the Northern Kingdom. A prominent childless woman from the village of Shunem noticed the that this oftentimes wonderer was a prophet of God, so her and her husband who were part of a small remnant who had not gone the way of Jeroboam decided to offer him hospitality whenever he passed through. They added an extra bedroom on the roof of their house which they equipped with a bed, a chair, a table, and an oil lamp. (The first Hebrew letters of each of these elements in the room spell the word: Mishkan which is the term used for the area where the Ark of the Covenant used to rest. This teaches us the very important principle that he who practices hospitably transforms his house into a Sanctuary for the Divine Presence to dwell in.) Our Master relates to this Shunamite woman when He said, The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward (Matthew10:41) .
Against the woman’s protests, knowing how God rewards those who care for His saints without personal motives but just because they are God’s people, Elisha desired to reward the woman for her kindness. When Elisha’s servant pointed out to him that she was barren, the prophet proceeded to tell her that by next year, at the time of life (same Hebraic expression used by the angel who spoke to Abraham about Sarah in Genesis 18:10) she will embrace a son, a son which Elisha later raises form the dead. These carry an uncanny resemblance with those told in the Book of Genesis about Sarah after Abraham practiced hospitality to strangers (Genesis 18), but they also follow closely those that Elijah, Elisha’s master performed in that very same area.
These local stories were still recounted in those towns of Israel when the Master arrived on the scene. They were still fresh and people encouraged each other with them as they waited for the final Messiah who would deliver them. They knew that He would do the same miracles and even more. What a surprised then it must have been for the people of Nain when this new prophet who was born not too far from them in Nazareth crashed one of their funeral procession and being moved with compassion brought a young man back to life (Luke 7:11-15).
If you want Hashem’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven; if you desire to make a Sanctuary of your heart and of your house for the Presence of God to dwell in; if you want to see the life-giving blessings of the Almighty fill your life: practice hospitality, especially on the Sabbath!