A Single Jar of Oil

Travis West

READ : Isaiah 61:1-3 Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil. (2 Kings 4:2) The modern industrialized West is not the only oil economy history has known. In fact, many ancient cultures—Israel included—put a premium on oil. It just so happens that our oil is petroleum; theirs was olive. One of my mentors once said: “To Israel, olive oil was seen as a distillation of the glory of God in a jar.” The glory of …

Once or Twice?

Travis West

READ : 2 Kings 2:1-18 When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other. (v. 14 NRSV) The Hebrew language is as different from English as any two languages can be. The structure of its grammar, the ways that words connect to make meaning (syntax), and even the range of meaning of individual words make reading the Hebrew Bible a profoundly cross-cultural experience. Not to mention a perennial challenge for translators! …

The Passing of the Mantle

Travis West

READ : 2 Kings 2:1-18 He picked up the mantle of Elijah. (v. 13 NRSV) In high school I ran on the track team. One of my least favorite events was the 4×400 meter relay. I didn’t like it for two reasons. First, it is a grueling race; running 400 meters as fast as you can leaves you completely exhausted, every muscle in your body crying for mercy. The second reason I disliked it was because we didn’t practice passing …