Filling Empty Vessels
2 Kings 4:3 And he said, Go and borrow vessels outside, from all your neighbors, empty vessels, and not just a few. (4) Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all those vessels; and each one you fill set aside. (5) So she went away from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons; and they brought the vessels to her, and she poured out into them. (6) And when she had filled the vessels, she said to her son, Bring me another vessel. But he said to her, There is no other vessel. And the oil stopped.
The story in 2 Kings 4 shows us an important spiritual principle. In the Bible oil represents the Holy Spirit. The widow’s problem was that she had too few vessels. She had to borrow empty vessels–this speaks of the need for empty room within us for the Holy Spirit. She was to borrow not a few– this means the more the better. There should not be only one empty room but many empty rooms. One empty space is not enough; there need to be many empty spaces. The more empty spaces there are, the more fullness there will be. This is a principle which the Lord has shown us: spiritual progress is a matter of being continually emptied out and continually filled up. The work of the Holy Spirit is not “once empty then forever full” but “always empty and always full.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not think that as long as we have been emptied once, we will not need any more emptying. The work of the cross in us is ever-increasing and ever-deepening.
Another very important thing is the place where the oil was to be poured. It was to be poured in the house and with the door shut. To shut the door means to confine the woman, her sons, and the oil within the door. This indicates that we have to deal with the Holy Spirit directly ourselves. Everything should be between us and the Lord. Difficulties and victories are all personal. If there is something wrong with us, we must not bear a grudge against anyone nor blame anyone. We should shut the door, which means we should deal with the Holy Spirit within us alone. Our relationship is with the Holy Spirit alone. It is up to us and the Holy Spirit to decide whether we should live a rich spiritual life or a poor one. As long as we have settled everything with the Holy Spirit, all will go well.
The Holy Spirit will fill every empty vessel, even the very last one. If there had been more empty vessels, there would have been more oil. We must bear in mind that the reason the oil stopped was because there were no more vessels. It was not the oil that first stopped, but the empty vessels that were first exhausted. The oil did not exhaust itself; it was the empty vessels that were exhausted. Brothers and sisters, God is waiting for us to empty ourselves. If there is an infinite emptiness in us, the Holy Spirit will grant us an infinite filling. Whether or not we will receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit depends on whether we have empty vessels. It depends on whether or not we have reserved room for the Holy Spirit and whether or not we have provided Him a place to work in us.