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From the July 1914 issue of The Christian Science Journal

IN working out the question of supply there is probably no more helpful and inspiring lesson in the whole range of the Scriptures than that contained in the account given in the opening verses of the fourth chapter of the second book of Kings. The man of God was faced with what seemed a difficult and distressing problem; a crisis had arisen in the life of one of his friends, which, if not handled promptly and firmly, promised a tragic finale. The widow's husband, a God-fearing man and a servant of the prophet, was dead. Her debts pressed heavily on her, and as she was unable to meet them, a creditor had come to take her two sons to be bondmen.

According to Josephus, this woman's deceased husband was no other than the good steward of King Ahab, Obadiah, who preserved the prophets that Jezebel desired to kill; and it was because of the debts which he had incurred by borrowing money for the maintenance of these prophets during their concealment in the cave, that this poor woman was seeking relief at the hand of Elisha. If this be so, probably the man of God was familiar with the circumstances, and was immediately able to see clearly that the widow had no occasion to suffer lack of supply from such false conditions since, as Mrs. Eddy points out, "giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker" (Science and Health, p. 79). It would seem, however, that she had let fear and a sense of human relationship creep into her mentality, for instead of realizing that divine Love was never failing and would surely meet her need, she was grieving that her husband's support had been withdrawn, and that her two sons, on whom she was relying in his place, were also to be taken from her.

The outlook was indeed dark, but Elisha did not flinch; his question was direct and practical, "What hast thou in the house?" Measured by human standards, her reply indicated that her resources were inadequate, —"Not anything . . . save a pot of oil"! Then the prophet told her to borrow vessels of all her neighbors, "even empty vessels; borrow not a few." Following his explicit instructions, she went apart from every one, and as each vessel was brought she filled it from her seemingly meager store of oil, the supply lasting until her son cried to her, "There is not a vessel more." The prophet then told her to sell the oil and pay her debt, adding, "Live thou and thy children of the rest [remainder]."

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