A Little Bit About Oil

A little bit about the customs of Morocco that could help us understand better Matthew 25:1-13. In Eastern countries, olive oil is used both for cooking and light. It is a staple product which is very necessary and very precious. It is not uncommon to go out at night and buy oil, because people are so poor that they actually live from hand to mouth - often they go with frying pan in hand and buy just enough for that one meal.

The merchant does not think it strange for people to come again and again at any hour to buy oil. There is no schedule in Eastern countries. If the bus is supposed to come at 10 am, it may not come until 2 or 4 or 6 pm.

At marriages, it is very common for the bridegroom to tarry. No one knows when the bridegroom will come, but they know he is coming, so they need oil for the whole day. The oil is the all important thing in the parable.

In Morocco and other countries, there is a small lamp called the "Pilal Lamp." It is so simple, you can hardly believe it is a lamp. You can buy a small metal cap and 24 small wicks in a box (like a pill box) for 7 cents and it lasts for 24 days. The wick fits in a tiny hole in the centre of the cap - then they take a clay vessel, chipped or pretty, old or new, and fill it two thirds full of water, then put a small amount of oil on the water, and then the cap and wick on it. It is a good light and gives enough light for a mother to care for her children, etc.

The five wise could not share with the others, for they had just estimated enough for the night. The others were willing to go and buy, for it wasn't because they didn't have the price for it, or didn't know the way. It was neglect that they had no oil, and that night of all nights. They had gone so often to the merchants that they could find their way after the lamp had gone out, but to go forth to meet the bridegroom, they needed the light. These little lamps don't give much light. It is just enough for one step ahead and only one person can walk in the light of one lamp.

The oil of the Holy Spirit is what we need that we might have the light of life in our own lives. The light of life is just a day at a time and we need to look to the Creator today to get the oil, to light the way before us that we might go in with the Bridegroom when He comes.