The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” —2 Kings 4:1 NIV

We have all been there, haven’t we? Wondering what God is up to when our future looks bleak? Perhaps a modern-day version of the story in this verse would be like a widow staring at a mammoth medical bill while planning her husband’s funeral and then getting a call from the bank that they are foreclosing. Her teenage sons, in an effort to help make money, hire themselves out on a deep-sea fishing vessel and leave their mother for months at a time. (Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the idea.) The situation is not good.

Still, even if it were only a large medical bill or only a health issue or only a loss, it would be overwhelming. What I love about the “wife of the man” is what she did with her problem. She ran right to Elisha, the man of God, and poured her heart out. Her husband had revered the Lord and she did too. Even though she was desperate and confused, she knew where to go for provision and comfort. She didn’t try to figure it out herself. She ran to God, and He answered with a miracle.

Inspired by 2 Kings 4:1-7, the narrative below is how I imagine the scene …

The air smelled sweet as she poured the olive oil into one of many large vessels in the dim room. Mingled with the aroma was the memory of her husband’s warm fingers touching her forehead as he anointed her with oil. But now he was cold in a newly-sealed tomb, and his creditor was threatening to take her boys as slaves. Her fingers ached as much as her heart. For a moment, she relaxed the hand wrapped tightly around the little jar. Then, she gripped it and shook the last drops from the bottle. That large urn was finally full. Amazed, she stared at the round, golden ripples caused by the last few drops of oil.

“Bring me another, please,” she asked without lifting her head.

“There are no more jars, mama.” She looked up and saw her son’s eyes asking, “What shall we do?”

“It’s okay, Joshua. The oil has stopped flowing. We must have enough.” She sighed, “We must.” She could not survive if her sons were taken from her, even if for “only” a few years.

“Can you believe it?” She smiled. “All this oil from one tiny jar?” She wiped her eyes with glistening hands, then reached for her sons. “Joshua, Samuel, come,” she whispered, then pulled them close. She brushed her wet cheeks along their dark curls. “Now,” she said kissing them on the head, “set the last pot along the wall with the others.”

“Yes, mama!” They skipped to the jar, bent their knees, and slid their palms under the lip of the vessel. “One, two, three ….” They both stood, their palms turning white, and side-stepped to the wall. She beamed as she watched Joshua and Samuel glide the heavy pot full of God’s provision alongside the others. “They are as strong as their father was at their age,” she thought. Then, she smiled, remembering Elisha’s words. “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for a few,” he had ordered.

Well, she hadn’t asked for just a few. She had asked for them all! And her neighbors obliged but not without a few strange looks. She had done exactly as Elisha had instructed her: She poured her one small jar of olive oil into all the borrowed jars—and amazingly each one was filled to the top! She thought about when she had first asked Elisha for help. His answer had made her wonder if he had lost his mind. Perhaps the death of her husband weighed heavily on him too.

“I should tell him we’re finished,” she said, removing her apron. Then, she massaged her stiff fingers and surveyed the room. “What am I going to do with all this oil?” she mumbled.

Suddenly, she realized Elisha had not told her what to do after the jars were full. “I’ll be right back,” she told her sons and scurried out the weathered door and onto the craggy footpath. She found Elisha near the market, his mantel tossed over his shoulder as he leaned against a post with a knowing smile on his worn, but joyful face. The pounding in her heart caused her to hurry toward Elisha.

“Well?” he asked, raising his thick eyebrows.

“Oh, Man of God, you already know, I’m sure,” she smiled. “Every last vessel my neighbors could spare is full of oil. Now, what would you have me do?”

“Go, sell the oil, and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” His voice was flat but his eyes were gleaming.

“Thank you! Thank you!” she cried. Then, she grabbed his hand and kissed it. But, just as quickly let it drop to his side, her cheeks flushed. “Thank God for His wonderful provision and for saving our family!” she exclaimed. Then, she bowed, turned on her heels, and ran home. [The End.]

In this beautiful story, it would be easy to merely get caught up in the way God provided for this family. However, it’s important to remember that oil is always a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible—the presence of God. This woman came to God with all she had, a little bottle of olive oil, and poured it out by faith, only to find it was never ending as long as she had a vessel to receive it. Her actions revealed her faith and desire, but God alone poured Himself out as the blessing and provision for her overwhelmed and burdened heart.

Father, this widow obeyed You, and she was not disappointed. But, more than that, she experienced Your presence and provision because she was a willing vessel. May I always pour my heart out to You and look to You alone for answers. Give me faith and humility to walk in complete obedience, even when it doesn’t make sense. More importantly, pour Your Spirit into my heart, Lord. Teach me to depend on You and enjoy Your presence for all my days.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NJKV).

Marlene McKenna



Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





Share it. Pin it.

4 Comments. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Next Post
December 12. Day Sixteen
Previous Post
December 11. Day Fifteen