bucket… Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38 (NETFull)

I looked out the mission-house in Zimbabwe to see twelve-year-old Pauline skipping up the driveway. She was coming to make strawberry jam with Dani. This African child was a beam of sunshine. She didn’t walk, she skipped, she didn’t grumble, she sang. My skepticism doubted her perfect joy and I plied the child with questions.

“Hey, Pauline, what would you do if another girl was angry with you?”

“I’d show them the same love Jesus showed me.” A confident dimple punctuated her reply.

Pauline had every reason to be a sullen child. Her parents were taken by AIDS and she shared an orphanage room with fifteen other girls. She was a watering can made to carry God’s joy to thirsty flowers, but life riddled the can with shotgun holes. Rather than abandon her assignment, Pauline let the holes become sprinklers through which she spread more love to those along her path.

The people we are called to love are not only those distant flowers who have been dehydrated by life, but also those along our path. It is those near me that I have the most difficulty loving. I can go into a third-world country and pour myself into the needy but at home I struggle to love my neighbors. God’s loving joy is for both the foreign bloom and the domestic weed.

If I’m truly carrying the living water of Jesus, it becomes an artesian spring I can’t deplete. I can afford to let it spill freely from the holes of my brokenness onto others. The points of my greatest need become the source of my best gifts.

Those near me have seen my dysfunction, now it’s time to let them see grace flowing from those same holes.

Prayer: Jesus, let me carry your love to all people in every circumstance.

 

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