Today at a conference a woman gave a spoken word centered on the story of the widow and the oil.
It was about how it took desperation and faith for her to go to the prophet Elisha and tell him of her woes, then it took faith and courage for her to go around asking for jars from all her friends and neighbors. It took a next level faith for her to walk back into her home, now filled with empty jars, pick up her one small jar and begin to pour.
The spoken word ended with the woman posing the question, “don’t we think that after seeing God provide and pour out blessing after blessing, the woman wished that she had put out just one more jar?”
The spoken word then lead into the song, Set a Fire, and I was particularly moved when the singer sang the words, “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain that I can’t control, I want more, pour it out.”
Pour it out.
It occurred to me in those moments, that sometimes it’s not a matter of finding and borrowing jars from others in order for God to pour into us and bless us.
I think sometimes, we, in this day and age, need to search the recesses of our souls for the jars that are dry and dusty in the corners of our own hearts and beg, “Please Lord, fill this one too.” We have to identify what “jars” in our lives need to be miraculously filled with oil that brings so much richness to life.
Back then, oil was used for cooking, anointing kings, and lighting lamps. Jesus used it as a symbol of fullness, of needs being met.
If we trust that He will provide every need, we need to gather our jars and set them before Him. We need to borrow the jars of our neighbors and add them to our collection.
“Lord, this jar is labeled, ‘loneliness,’ but I set it before you and ask that you fill it up so that I can label it with what You give me. Lord, I’ve borrowed this jug labeled joy, please fill it to the brim. God, this jar says, ‘rest,’ please pour out your blessings. Oh Lord, here is a jar from the back of the pantry labeled hope, please, replenish it.”
Jars are made to be emptied, but they are also made to be filled. Sometimes heartbreak will evaporate a jar so quickly we don’t even realize we are running on empty. It’s in those moments that we need to set out another jar for Him to fill.
As the widow was reaching for every jar she could possibly find, I imagine that there were some jars in her cupboard she didn’t want to use. Perhaps the unsightly ones that only family used, the ones not meant for guests or company to see…perhaps the ones her two boys made as young children with rough unfinished edges…or perhaps the jug that had been passed down for generations from her husband’s side of the family and every time she saw it she was reminded of her loss and the devastation her family had suffered. But the prophet had told her, she needed more than just a few jars and so out it went.
We have jars like that too. The ones that are unsightly and not meant for public, the ones that trigger hurts and heartaches. But if God is going to work a miracle in our lives, wouldn’t we want to put out just one more jar?