A positive path for spiritual living

Wednesday Vesper: The Widow's Oil

Monday I did something I haven’t done in a while…I opened my Bible randomly and began to read.  Of course, Spirit was at work, which I recognized immediately.  I turned to II Kings, chapter 4 and the story of the prophet Elisha and the widow’s oil.  This is a story about fear and lack.  Wow, do we see that anywhere today? Also maybe a little helplessness.  Anyone feeling helpless right now? 

Let me read the story and then we’ll dig into the metaphysics.

Now the wife of a member of the company of prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves.” Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” He said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not just a few. Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.” So she left him and shut the door behind her and her children; they kept bringing vessels to her, and she kept pouring.  When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There are no more.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.”

This is story in the Old Testament.  Elisha was one of the prophets who did miracles of healing and abundance was metaphysically one of those representing the Christ in development. When the widow says her husband feared the Lord, it is a term of honor and awe.  However, the widow’s feelings regarding the creditors coming to take her sons away as slaves represent our fearful feelings about conditions outside ourselves that we might have no control over.  In those days, women alone could not own property and the widow might have felt helpless about her situation. Still, she turned to Elisha.  Metaphysically this represents turning to our inner wisdom and guidance when we become fearful about outer conditions. 

And what was the prophet’s response?  He asked what she had.  In moments of panic and helplessness, we forget the resources we have available.  We may discount our abilities or fear what we have is not enough.  Sound familiar?  The widow’s response is, “We have nothing, except a jar of oil.” Are we asking ourselves right now, “What do we have” around healthcare resources, market stability, financial resilience, childcare and food for everyone?  And when I turn on the news I hear too many voices saying, “We have nothing” 

Elisha focuses on the “except” and says, “Use what you have!”  This guidance is both a reminder of our power to choose and act and a reminder that we always have something!  We need to be aware in this moment of all that we have.  We have the power to choose to act and make good use of what we have. Let me say that again.  We have the power.  It is ours to claim and to use.  We always have something.  We focus so intently on the hole, we forget about the doughnut.  Let’s shift our attention to what we have. 


What about the empty vessels?  What could they represent?  Think about the Daniel Nahmod song about empty hands.  When we are so full of our beliefs about limitation; our belief about what is not possible and our concerns about exactly how life will play out—we have no space for the abundance of Spirit flowing through us.  We empty out our limited thinking and make room for the flow of good. Is it magic? No.  Can we mess it up?  Probably.  But the widow’s oil story stands for possibility.  The widow had to claim her power and act.  They had to gather empty pots.  She still had to sell the oil and pay her debts with the money and then be a good steward of the money for her children.  Even miracles require us to act.  And a miracle is just the unfolding of principle in ways we don’t understand. 


Now is a good time to gather some empty pots.  Let go of limited beliefs about how the conditions in the world’s health and economy are going to unfold. 

Focus on what you have—what we as a global community have—and how we can be guided to its most effective use. Fix your gaze on the possibilities. 


The Fillmores’ ministry survived the Great Depression.  In his book, Prosperity, Charles Fillmore wrote, “The spiritual substance from which comes all visible wealth [and health]is never depleted.  It is right with you all the time and responds to your faith in it and your demands on it.  It is not affected by our talk of hard times, though we are affected because our thoughts and words govern our demonstration.  Pour your living words of faith into the omnipresent substance, and you will be prospered even though all the banks in the world close their doors."


This evening let us pour our living words of faith into the omnipresent substance and call forth all that we desire. 

May all beings be well.

May all beings be safe and comforted.

May all beings be at peace.

And so it is.