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The Oil Kept Flowing

By Patricia Jackson

McDowell County


1ST and 2nd Kings contain many faith-building stories of miracles in the life of Elijah and Elisha.  One of my favorites is the Widow’s Pot of Oil. The first verse of 2nd Kings, Chapter 4 tells us about a desperate woman “Now there CRIED a certain woman”. Her husband had died, and the creditor demanded payment -her two sons to be bondmen. She had a debt she could not pay and nowhere to turn to for help. Her problem seemed overwhelming, but it was just God’s opportunity in disguise. There are numerous instances where God responded to a cry for help, including King David’s cry in Psalm 41:1 “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble”. Just like David, she knew the one to call on.

She had only a small pot of oil, no money, and probably very little food. Elijah told her to borrow vessels from all her neighbors and borrow not a few.  In other words, get as many vessels as they will give or loan you. The number of vessels she would acquire was in direct relation to her faith.  If her faith in the words of Elisha was small, she would borrow only a few.  But she had faith in the prophet’s words and returned with many vessels.  (Matthew 9:29 – “According to your faith, be it unto you”).  We can only wonder how her unsympathetic neighbors reacted to her request for empty vessels. Perhaps they loaned the vessels thinking she had lost her mind or maybe loaned them just to see what would happen next.  I like to think that God moved on these neighbors to loan her all the empty vessels they had.

Elisha told her to go inside with her sons, while he remained outside.  In my mind’s eye, I could see neighbors outside on their porch watching or in the narrow street, curious about what she would do with all the empty vessels. Surely, they mocked at her to each other. But inside the house, a miracle was happening!!  The oil kept flowing out of the little vessel. They filled one large vessel, then another and another, until all the vessels were full.

She and her sons came out and gave Elisha the news “There is not a vessel more”. He instructed her to sell the oil, pay off the creditor and live off the rest.

When the day ended, the mother and son had their financial needs met. More importantly, the neighbors also knew about the great miracle from God’s Prophet Elisha and the mighty God of Israel he served.


Patricia Jackson is the Assistant Teacher for the Ladies Class at Redeemed Free Will Baptist Church, Glenwood, NC.  She is a grant writer for non-profits, a published author and retired Nursing Home Administrator.  She lives in Rutherford County with her husband.  Contact information: email address: