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Last Updated: 2013/07/15
Summary of question
Which is the verse that says that our knowledge is just a small drop in an ocean?
question
Which Sura of the Quran says that our knowledge is as little as a drop of water in an ocean? It seems it is the verse which says, "And of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you." [و ما اوتیتم من العلم إلا قلیلا] Presumably, the word "qalil" in this verse has been interpreted as a "drop" against an ocean.
Concise answer

The point in the question has been mentioned by a number of the verses of the Quran. In some of its verses, the Quran says that if all the oceans were ink, God's knowledge would not be exhausted and the oceans would run dry.  God says, "And you are not given aught of knowledge but a little." Of course, according to some traditions from the Ahlul-Bayt (a.s), the verse implies that knowledge has not been granted but to a few of you and many people are deprived of it. It should be noted that we could not find a phrase or statement in the words and narratives of the Infallibles (a) similar to the phrases and terms used in your question. However, there is a similar statement from Ibn Abbas which will be mentioned in the detailed answer.
Detailed Answer
There are verses in the Quran which, to some extent, relate to the point raised in your question.  For example, the Quran says:
"قُلْ لَوْ کانَ الْبَحْرُ مِداداً لِکَلِماتِ رَبِّی لَنَفِدَ الْبَحْرُ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَنْفَدَ کَلِماتُ رَبِّی وَ لَوْ جِئْنا بِمِثْلِهِ مَدَداً "
Say: "If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.[1]"
And another verse says:
"وَ لَوْ أَنَّ ما فِی الْأَرْضِ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلامٌ وَ الْبَحْرُ یَمُدُّهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ ما نَفِدَتْ کَلِماتُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزیزٌ حَکیم‏"
"And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the words of Allah be exhausted (in the writing): for Allah is Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom."[2]
In regard to this verse (Luqman 27), it has been mentioned in Tafsir Qummi as such: "Some Jews asked the Messenger of Allah (s) about spirit[3]. The Prophet (s) replied:
"الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّی وَ ما أُوتِیتُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِیلًا"
"This Spirit comes by the Command of my Lord, but you have been given only a little of the 'Knowledge'."[4]
"Do you mean that the Jews' knowledge is little or the knowledge of the entire people?" they asked again.
"The knowledge of the entire people," answered the Messenger of Allah (s).
"How is that possible, O' Muhammad?" they asked again. "You claim that the knowledge you have is little while God has bestowed you the Quran as He bestowed us the Torah, and it has been stated in the Quran that "whoever is granted wisdom"[5] (Torah), "he indeed is given a great good."[6]
In response to the Jews, God sent down this verse: ""And if all the trees on earth were pens and …" God, the Sublime, says that God's knowledge is greater than this.  What has been bestowed upon you seems to be great in your sight but it is so little in God's sight."[7]
There is a narration from Imam Baqir (a.s) who in the interpretation of "you have been given only a little of the 'Knowledge'" said: "The esoteric meaning of this verse is that knowledge has not been granted but to a few people. There is minkom [of you] hidden after the word "qalilan" [little] which means that knowledge has not been grant but to a few of you[8]  [and many people are deprived of it].
It should be noted that we could not find a phrase or statement in the words and narratives of the Infallibles (a) similar to the phrases and terms used in your question. However, there is a similar statement from Ibn Abbas: "A man from the Kharijites asked Ibn Abbas a question. Before answering the man's question, Ibn Abbas asked: "Who do you think is more knowledgeable, Ali or myself? He said: If I had thought Ali to be more knowledgeable, I would not have come to you!
Upon hearing this, Ibn Abbas was enraged and he said: May your mother mourn you! Ali is the one who taught me. And his knowledge is from the Prophet (s) and the Prophet received knowledge from Allah, Most High. So, the knowledge of the Prophet is from Allah, and Ali's knowledge is from the Prophet and my knowledge is from Ali. And the knowledge of all the companions of Muhammad, (s) when compared to Ali's knowledge is just like a drop in the seven oceans."[9]      
 

[1] - Al-Kahf: 109
[2] - Luqman: 27
[3] - They ask you about "The Spirit."  Say, "This Spirit comes by the Command of my Lord, but you have been given only a little of the 'Knowledge'." [Al-Isra: 85]
[4] - Al-Isra: 85
[5] - Al-Baqarah: 69
[6] - Ibid.
[7] - Qommi, Ali bin Ibrahim bin Hashem, Tafsir Qommi,vol.2, pg. 166, Darul Ketab Institute, Qom, 1404 A.H.
[8] - 'Ayyashi, Muhammad bin Mas'ud, Tafsir al-'Ayyashi, vol.2, pg. 317, Ilmiyah Printing House, Tehran, 1380 A.H.
[9] - Shaykh Mufid, Al-Amali, pg. 235, Congress on Shaykh Mufid, Qom, 1413 A.H.
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