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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Woman: The Widow With A Jar Of Oil

Bottle of olive oil, close-up

In the book of Kings, we read about a young widow, saddled in debt and struggling to raise her sons.  When she met the prophet Elisha, he could see that she was desperate.  In fact, she threw herself at his feet and sobbed, "The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves!"

In those days, creditors could not only repossess property – they could take human beings as collateral.  Never mind that the widow’s late husband had created the debt in the first place.  Mercy was out of the question.

Elisha responded, "What do you have in the house?"

"I have nothing in the house but a jar of oil," she replied.

So Elisha instructed her and her sons to go to their neighbors and borrow as many empty jugs as possible.  Once they collected the jugs, Elisha instructed the mother to shut the door and pour her oil into the empty vessels.

Next, a miracle occurred.  The oil never ran out.  It kept flowing.

There is so much meaning packed in this little story.  To start, the widow didn’t give up.  She didn’t tell Elisha he was crazy, or that he should instead go and arrange for her debts to be cancelled.  Instead, she demonstrated faith.  She had to go to her neighbors for the empty jugs.  She had to physically act to pour the oil into each new jug, not knowing if it would run out.  Then she had to trust God what to do next.

"What shall we do now?" the young mother asked the prophet.

"Sell the oil, pay your debt, and then you and your sons can live on the surplus," he said.

By going, acting, and trusting, the widow took full responsibility for her household and was able to repay her debt and save her family. 

When God uses empty vessels and a little sprinkle of faith, nothing short of a miracle is bound to happen!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  2 Corinthians 4:7

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