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Elisha and the widow's oil

Elisha, a widow in debt and jars of oil.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish
One day, a woman, the wife of one of the prophets of God, came to see Elisha. She was clearly upset and needed help. – Slide 1
‘My husband is dead,’ she cried out. ‘As you know, he was a believer in the one true God. He was very poor and when he died he had many debts. – Slide 2
‘One of the men he owed money to wants his money back. As I cannot pay, the man is threatening to take away my two sons and make them his slaves.’ – Slide 3
Elisha asked the Lord for guidance. How could God help this poor woman? ‘Tell me, what do you have in your house?’ Elisha asked. – Slide 4
‘Only one small pot of oil,’ the tearful woman replied. – Slide 5
Here’s what you must do,’ said Elisha. ‘Go home and gather all the empty vessels you can find. Borrow empty jars from your neighbours too. You need to gather as many jars as you can.’<br/>‘Why? What for?’ the woman asked. Elisha then told her what to do once the jars had been collected. – Slide 6
The widow went home and she and her two sons gathered as many empty vessels as they could find. They borrowed bowls and jars from their neighbours and friends. It made quite a collection! – Slide 7
Then the woman went into her house and closed the door, just as Elisha had told her. Then she started tipping the oil from her one small jar of olive oil into the first large bowl. She poured and poured and the little jar did not empty. The oil kept flowing and flowing until the big bowl was filled. – Slide 8
Then she tipped the small jar of oil into a big bucket. Wow! The whole bucket filled up, right to the top. – Slide 9
The woman looked into her small jar of oil and it still wasn’t empty. So she poured it into another large jar. – Slide 10
And when the jar filled, she keep pouring the olive oil into basins, bowls, jugs and pots. All of them were filled right up to the top. – Slide 11
‘Are there any containers left to fill?’ the woman asked her sons. <br/>‘No,’ they replied, ‘You have filled them all.’ As soon as the woman heard this the oil in her pot stopped coming out. It was totally empty. – Slide 12
The happy woman ran to find Elisha. ‘I did everything you told me and now I have masses and masses of olive oil.’ – Slide 13
Elisha was pleased. ‘Now, go and sell the oil and use the money to pay your husband’s debts. There should be enough money left for you and your sons to buy the food, clothes and the things you need.’ – Slide 14
The woman was so pleased at the way God had provided for her. Most of all she could keep her two sons and they could all look after each other. – Slide 15
The woman returned home very happy. God had looked after them. Why? She had trusted and obeyed God. Faith and obedience always go together like that. – Slide 16
Slide 17