In the Old Testament, Elisha was Elijah’s student. Elisha is the prophet who seceded Elijah. His succession began when Elijah was taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle went and struck it on the waters of the Jordan River and said, “Where is the Lord the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). The water parted and Elisha crossed over to embark on his service as a prophet of God.
Elisha, son of Shaphat, was a prophet from Abel Meholah in Gilead. He lived in the northern Kingdom of Israel during the reigns of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Jehoash.
Elijah called Elisha to be his apprentice in (1 Kings 19:19-21) during the reign of King Ahab 7th King of Israel. Elisha died in (2 Kings 13:20) in the reign of King Jehoash the 12th King of Israel 798 BC-782 BC. Elisha’s ministry lasted over 50 years.
Elisha is from the Hebrew name אֱלִישַׁע (‘Elisha’), a contracted form of אֱלִישׁוּעַ (‘Elishu’a) meaning “my God is salvation”.
Elisha, like Elijah, performed some extraordinary miracles as a prophet of God. Elisha when asked of Elijah, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha answered, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” Elisha indeed did see and receive a double portion. His ministry was twice as long and he performed twice as many miracles. (2 Kings 2:9-10)
1) Causing the rain the cease for 3 1/2 years (1 Kings 17:1)
2) Being fed by the ravens (1 Kings 17:4)
3) Miracle of the barrel of meal and cruse of oil (1 Kings 17:14)
4) Resurrection of the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:22)
5) Calling of fire from heaven on the altar (1 Kings 18:38)
6) Causing it to rain (1 Kings 18:45)
7) Prophecy that Ahab’s sons would all be destroyed (1 Kings 21:20-22, 29)
8) Prophecy that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs (1 Kings 21:23)
9) Prophecy that Ahaziah would die of his illness (2 Kings 1:4)
10) Calling fire from heaven upon the first 50 soldiers (2 Kings 1:10)
11) Calling fire from heaven upon the second 50 soldiers (2 Kings 1:12)
12) Parting of the Jordan (2 Kings 2:8)
13) Prophecy that Elisha should have a double portion of his spirit (2 Kings 2:10)
14) Being caught up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11)
1) Parting of the Jordan (2 Kings 2:14)
2) Healing of the waters (2 Kings 2:21)
3) Curse of the she bears (2 Kings 2:24)
4) Filling of the valley with water (2 Kings 3:17)
5) Deception of the Moabites with the valley of blood (2 Kings 3:22)
6) Miracle of the vessels of oil (2 Kings 4:4)
7) Prophecy that the Shunammite woman would have a son (2 Kings 4:16)
8) Resurrection of the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4:34)
9) Healing of the gourds (2 Kings 4:40-41)
10) Miracle of the bread (2 Kings 4:43)
11) Healing of Naaman (2 Kings 5:14)
12) Perception of Gehazi’s transgression (2 Kings 5:25-26)
13) Cursing Gehazi with leprosy (2 Kings 5:27)
14) Floating of the axe head (2 Kings 6:6)
15) Prophecy of the Syrian battle plans (2 Kings 6:9)
16) Vision of the chariots (2 Kings 6:17)
17) Smiting the Syrian army with blindness (2 Kings 6:18)
18) Restoring the sight of the Syrian army (2 Kings 6:20)
19) Prophecy of the end of the great famine (2 Kings 7:1)
20) Prophecy of scoffing nobleman would see, not partake of, the abundance (2 Kings 7:2)
21) Deception of the Syrians with the sound of chariots (2 Kings 7:6)
22) Prophecy of the seven-year famine (2 Kings 8:1)
23) Prophecy of Benhadad’s untimely death (2 Kings 8:10)
24) Prophecy of Hazael’s cruelty to Israel (2 Kings 8:12)
25) Prophecy that Jehu would smite the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:7)
26) Prophecy that Joash would smite the Syrians at Aphek (2 Kings 13:17)
27) Prophecy that Joash would smite Syria thrice but not consume it (2 Kings 13:19)
28) Resurrection of the man touched by his bones (2 Kings 13:21)
Elisha sent a member of his company of prophets to anoint Jehu to be king of Israel (2 Kings 9:1-3). During a battle with Syria Joram was wounded. Commissioned by Elisha Jehu took the throne. Jehu not only took the throne; he embarked upon the full-scale destruction of the previous royal house Jehu killed the evil murderous Jezebel, members of Ahab’s household and King Ahaziah of Judah. (2 Kings 9:1-37)
Elisha was a great prophet who counseled kings and the wealthiest in society. Yet, he was a humble man of God, who made time for a poor widowed woman.
I would like to draw your attention to miracle number six listed above. The miraculous flow of oil for a widow. This was a widow’s oil well from God.
These were perilous times and women had little if any in the way of human rights in ancient times. There was no such thing as Social Security so a woman widowed or single, were dependent on their family or extended family for support.
The widowed woman apparently had no family. Her husband had died and her children were obviously not old enough to be able to support her.
Making matters worse, she was in debt to a creditor and unable to pay her debts. As a result and lawful for the times, her two children would be forfeited as slaves to pay off the debt until the Sabbath year (Deuteronomy 15:1). Her life had been reduced to her two children and a jar of oil. And she was about to lose her children so she cried out to Elisha.
The Bible mentions both Elijah and Elisha having visited fellowships, schools, or groups for religious learning in Israel that were attended by groups of men called “the sons of the prophets” (1 Samuel 19:20; 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:2,3,5,7,15; 2 Kings 4:1).
There was a man named Obadiah who had hidden a hundred of these prophets in two caves. It is believed that this was the widow’s husband who had died. He must have incurred his debt hiding and feeding this multitude of men on the run from the evil murderous Jezebel.
For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water. (1 Kings 18:4)
This widow was not alone in her misery. There were many widows throughout the land. The lands were still trying to recover from war, famine, and drought. All of these combined took a toll on the people.
Jesus Himself even made reference to the many widows, and even referenced Elisha’s mentor Elijah being sent to a different widow from Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. (Luke 4:25-26)
The widow that Jesus is talking about was the widow that Elijah helped during this drought. Elijah challenged a widow to an act of obedience and as she complied. The widow in Elijah’s miracle was provided with what she needed while she stayed in obedience. This miracle had a set limit, that limit being, until it rained. (1 Kings 17:7-16)
Elisha rewarded a widow’s ‘faith to ask’ with abundance; in fact the only limit placed upon what she received was what she was able to contain. In this miracle the only limit placed, was the one the widow placed on herself, shown by the size and the amount of vessels collected. (2 Kings 4:1-7)
The amount of vessels she collected determined the magnitude with which she was blessed.
Satan does not care whether you believe in the miraculous.
Satan does not care if you read your bible.
Satan does not care if you believe the miraculous blessings that you read in your bible.
Satan only fears it when you step out in your faith. When you begin walking in the covenant blessings of miracles you know as truth coming alive in your life.
Satan trembles when your faith meets the living word of truth, guiding your steps into the deeds which brings miraculous anointing life to your works. (James 2:14-26)
A Widow’s Oil Well
(2 Kings 4:1-7)
V1) A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
V2) So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
This verse shows us that the widow had already emptied her house of all that was of value. She seemingly had nothing of value left trying to pay her debt. It also show us that God can use the lest of things to work miracles in our lives.
In this verse the jar is a small vessel of oil. Strong’s H 610 Transliteration ‘acuwk flask, small oil jug. This is שֶׁמֶן shemen oil, olive oil.
Olive oil was used almost every day by everyone. It was expensive because it was time-consuming to make. One average olive tree can yield about ten gallons of oil a year.
Olive Oil during Elisha’s time, served as both as a luxury and as a necessity. The olives were sometimes beaten (Leviticus 24:2), sometimes trodden (Micah 6:15), but generally crushed in a mill designed for the purpose of extracting the costly oil.
Olive oil had many varied uses. It was used for lighting, medicinal purposes, cooking, and even for cosmetics and soaps. In the tabernacle, pure olive oil was used in the golden lamp-stand.
Olive oil was the Neosporin of its time. Cuts and scrapes were treated with olive oil to aid in the healing process. Priests, prophets, and kings were anointed with the finest of olive oils. Queens used it like modern hand lotion on their skin.
V3) Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few.
The woman apparently was in good standing with her neighbors. The neighbors trusted her with their property. It also show us that the Lord will involve others in the miracle of our blessings. Everyone around the widow was effected by a widow’s oil well from the Lord.
Elisha was trying to make the widow understand the magnitude of the blessing she was about to receive. He was effectively telling her to think big and get as much of whatever wherever she could find it to hold the oil.
The word vessels in Hebrew. Strong’s H7386 – רֵיק transliterated reyq means, empty, idle, worthless, vain. Elisha was saying use even the remnant and worthless discarded vessels, use everything you can.
This shows us just how the Lord can use us. The only requirement is that it must be empty to be filled. You must first empty yourself of all sin, doubts, self, filth, and disobedience. Empty yourself, confess and repent, so you can clean yourself. Made clean with the obedience in preparation, sanctified for your miracle blessings.
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
V4) And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”
Here we learn that we are to shut out the world and make our prayers and supplications know to the Lord with respect, humility, and reverence in private.
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)
V5) So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out.
Let us view this from the widows perspective. Here in her hand is a little flask of olive oil. As she steps out in faith and begins to pour out the oil she realizes that it giving out more oil than the vessel can hold.
We learn that if we continue to empty ourselves and pass on the love and salvation miracle of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will continue to refill and supply our needs to be a blessing to others for God’s Glory. You can become a powerful witness operating in Kingdom dynamics.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
V6) Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased.
Instead of running out of oil, the woman ran out of containers.
It is amazing to understand that your blessings are only limited by yourself. God will continue to supply as long as you continue to believe. You determine the magnitude of your miracles. You decide how much of God you can earthen vessel can contain. You decide how much of your mind, will, and emotions are vested in the work of the Lord. Only your disobedience and sin can cease the flow of God’s oil.
V7) Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
Alas, we find that the widow must have had a great deal of faith. I can imagine a house full of containers. Containers everywhere, on the window sills, all over the floor, on the tables, and even on the beds.
Just think about when the widow went to the man to pay her husband’s debt. The man would ask, “Where did you get all this money?” The widow was given an awesome opportunity to shared how God provided in such a miraculously way.
Just think about the sons as they were returning the containers, vessels, pots, and jars to all those who believed alongside with them. Neighbors intently waiting on news of Elisha’s visit and their own vessel was use of the Lord. I can almost hear the praises of Glory as they all thanked the Lord for His miraculous provisions.
Not only was she able to pay off her debt; she and her sons were obviously set up in the business of selling oil. This provided them and income that they could live on.
Will You Believe
Will you believe like the Widow’s Oil Well? Will you obey the commands of the Lord? Will you allow God to supply your needs?
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Will you be a Clean and Empty Vessel for the Lord?