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.
Pour the olive oil and vegetables over the beans and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Add enough of the water to cover the beans and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, about 3 to 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves and serve the hot beans over the rice.