THE LAMP AND THE OIL
In Eastern Countries olive oil is used both for cooking and light. It
is not uncommon for one to go out at midnight to buy oil because people
are so poor they actually live from hand to mouth. Often they go with
frying pan and buy just enough oil to cook that one meal. The merchant
doesn't think it a strange thing for people to come again and again to
buy oil at any hour.
There is no schedule in the Eastern Countries. If the bus is supposed
to come at 10 a.m. it may come at 2, 4, or 6 p.m. At marriages it is
very common for the bridegroom to tarry. No one knows the hour 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 a "pilot lamp" It is so simple
you can buy a small metal cap and 24 wicks in a small box (like a pill
box) for $0.07 and it will last 24 days. The wick fits in a tiny hole
in the center of the cap. Then they take a tiny vessel, chipped or
pretty, old or new and fill it 2/3 full of water, and put a small amount
of oil on the water, then place the cap and wick on it and light it. It
is a good night light and gives enough light for a Mother to care for
her children, etc.
The five wise couldn't share with the others for they had only estimated
enough for the night. The others were willing to go and buy it, for it
wasn't that they didn't have the price or that they didn't know the way.
It was pure neglect that they had no oil on that day of all days and
night of all nights. They had gone so often to the merchant they could
of found their way in the dark after the lamps had gone out, but to go
forth to meet the Bridegroom they needed light.
The little lamps don't give much light - it is just enough for one step
ahead and only one person can walk by the light of one lamp. The oil of
the Holy Spirit is the oil we all need that we might have the light of
life in our own lives. The way 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.