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The Widow's Miraculous Jar of Oil
Pottery and Oil Jars
Whether you cook with olive oil because it is healthful or simply enjoy its enriching flavor, this book will increase your interest in this ancient and beneficent oil. The author provides the complete story of olive oil, furnishing 112 recipes of olive-oil based dishes to whet your appetite. From the first photograph of a gnarled olive tree with its cloud of silvery leaves, this book is transporting.
The Miraculous Jar of Oil
Thoughts on 2 Kings 4:1-7
Here are some reflections on this simple story, having, of course, a deeper spiritual meaning as many stories in the Bible have.
i. She was the widow of a 'son of the prophets'. The sons of the prophets seem to be those disciples of Elijah and Elisha, located in 'schools' at Bethel, Jericho, etc. We do not know who established these schools of the prophets. But thiswidow's husband had a good reputation, as one who feared the Lord. Indeed, fear of the Lord is what is missing among most Christians.
ii. Her pathetic situation. The creditor was coming to take away her two sons as slaves. What a terrible fate for the poor widow and her two children. It must have been a very great debt to pay. Doesn't this remind you of the Law? The Law declares that we are sinners, and the debt of sin cannot be paid by us. It is a mountain of sins, a huge and crushing debt, if only we realize it. (The problem is that most Christians today are not convicted of their sins. They believe without repentance.)
iii. What do you have in your house? Elisha asks the widow. All she has is a pot or jar of oil. What does a Christian have? He has the Holy Spirit. Oil stands for the Holy Spirit. We have the indwelling Spirit. Rom 8:9b.
iv. The prophet tells the widow to borrow empty vessels and take them into her house, shut the door, and pour out the oil into those vessels. She does exactly what he says. Now what does that mean?
v. Her sons keep bringing the vessels, and she, hidden in the house, keeps pouring the oil into them. The Holy Spirit is poured out into empty vessels. That is what is required: emptiness; no confidence in oneself or in others. Absolute dependence on the Lord. Crying out to Him. She poured out her heart to the prophet, and we should pour out our hearts to the Lord. And in our emptiness, utter brokenness, the Spirit will fill us.
vi. There is no limit to the Spirit pouring Himself into us. All that is required is absolute helplessness, absolute weakness, absolute emptiness. I dare not trust in myself, dare not depend on my own strength or wisdom; but I trust myself wholly to the Lord. I rest wholly upon Him. He alone is my salvation. Can we say that? Often we trust in people, even in great men of God; but we must personally learn to depend on the Lord. Are we maintaining that kind of relationship with Him, or are we always running to people for help? Let the Spirit guide you.
vii. We know that when there were no more empty vessels, the oil stopped. You can clearly see the link between the pouring out of the oil (Spirit) and the emptiness of the vessel.
viii. There was enough oil not only to repay the debt, but there was oil enough to spare. 'You and your children live on the rest,' said the man of God, 4:7. The oil speaks of grace. God has given us the Spirit of grace, and we have not only saving grace, but sustaining grace. Oh, it is abundant grace. He gives more grace - for all situations.
ix. Let us learn to live by grace, by the Spirit, by absolute trust in the Lord and in His word (ie. by faith).