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An Open Vessel

Last year I spent a lot of time working on my little pond in the back of the house. For hours I worked with a backhoe digging, scooping and piling dirt in a frenzied effort to make a larger reservoir to hold water for the livestock. For a while I rebuilt the levee, increasing its thickness in hopes that it would retain water better. After that, I just made piles of dirt in hopes of using it around the building project of the house and leveling the lawn.

All this digging began when the pond was nearly dry. The ground around that area is so sandy that it is difficult to make a pond hold water for a long period of time. It was my intention to dig and hopefully get to enough clay-base soil to solve the problem. And dig I did!

When the first rains came, the water seemed to go right through the soil and vanish into oblivion. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. For the longest time, every time it rained, I would go running upstairs and look out the windows to see if all that hard work had paid off. Each time the pond would catch water and slowly seep down.

My greatest hope came true a couple of months ago when we had a large rain and the water continued to fill the pond. It did seep some, but the seep rate seemed to be less and less. I’m sure it will take years for all the little pores to fill in and get to where it will not leak, but, it is making progress.

Last night we got a gully-washer. It rained and rained, so much that I began to look out the window for Noah and his boat. Within minutes the pond was filled to overflowing capacity. I don’t know how long it will last, but I do know that it retained more this time than it did the last time. If we have enough rains like that, eventually, it will fill and stay filled.

Every time it rains God washes a little something extra into the reservoir that makes it hold a little more. The preparation has been made to hold the water. Now, the rest is up to God. I feel confident that in time, the little pond will always offer a refreshing drink to a thirsty soul.

As I watched the pond fill, I was amazed at how quickly it took place. I watched and envisioned it the way it used to be. It was so tiny and shallow before, that even with a downpour from heaven, it could only keep so much. I looked and saw the difference between then and now, and frankly, was amazed. All I could see was the surface, but I know there is more depth now than there ever was before.

As I looked out the window toward the pond I saw my reflection in the glass. You’ve seen that sight many times. You stand looking at something on the outside and see your reflection as you stand there looking. As I looked on, I thought of how shallow my life has been at times and how God sends downpours from heaven to fill us, only to have most of it rejected because our vessel is so shallow. I thought of how much I must have missed because I didn’t prepare the vessel.

As I stood there I almost became angry with myself. I thought of all the hours and the labor I spent on a dumb hole in the dirt trying to catch a little water. Instantly, I thought of how little time I’ve spent digging out the clutter from my soul to open up a reservoir for God.

Jesus is my answer… and He is your answer too. Paul spoke of Him in the letter to the Philippian church, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…” The key here is that He “emptied Himself.” We are often impoverished in spirit because we’ve made little attempt to increase the capacity of our vessel. Coming to church is not enough. Reading the Bible every day is not enough. That’s just like getting more rain than the pond will hold. When the vessel is full the rest runs off. We need to learn more about becoming empty. We need to learn more about enlarging the vessel. When we get the vessel prepared, we can be assured that God will fill it. I want to be full. What about you?