Drain the beans, discarding the water, and set them aside in a pot. Place the onion, celery, garlic and bay leaves in a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over them and let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Don’t skip it!
Pour the oil and veggie mixture over the beans and let that mix sit at room temp for 10 to 15 minutes. Add enough of the water to cover the beans and bring to a boil. (Here, you could also place the mix in a slow cooker.) Lower the temp to a simmer, add S & P, cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves and add final seasonings to taste. Serve the hot beans over the rice.