You can’t fill a broken jug.
It’s just common sense. Pouring anything into a cracked jug is useless, until you repair it.
If it’s a tiny crack, you could fill it quickly, with some glue, and be back in business right away.
If it’s a larger crack or if a piece is missing, you may have to spend some time finding the right materials. You may have to put a little more work into making the jug hold water again.
So… What does a broken piece of pottery have to do with faith-filled personal growth? (Cause you know I don’t write about kitchenware.)
It’s a metaphor, of course. The jug is made up of truth.
It’s made of the truth about who we were made to be. It’s the truth about the God who created us, and who sustains us. And, it’s made of the truth about what we are in this life to accomplish.
The water in our jug is the energy we have to complete the tasks that life has for us. It’s the rocket fuel that we use to pour our gifts out on the world. In a perfect world, we’re all seamless, water-tight vessels.
Newsflash: This isn’t a perfect world
This isn’t a perfect world, so there isn’t a seamless jug to be found.
Some have small cracks, way up at the top, so they can still, quite effectively, hold enough life-giving water to complete the plans that were made for us, before time began.
Other jugs are all but smashed to smithereens.
Regardless of whether you feel like a relatively seamless vessel or a bunch of shards on the ground, we belong to a society that doesn’t encourage repairing broken jugs.
None of us are whole enough to ignore the repair process. But we ignore it anyway.
We keep on pouring, trying to fill up and searching for the next, bigger, better, best! source of water that won’t leak out of our leaky jugs.
Get a better spouse.
Earn higher grades.
Be prettier, more successful, more spiritual.
Have a cleaner house.
Buy a newer car.
Take your kids on more vacations.
Read more books about how to be happy, grateful, content.
But it always leaks out.
None of the things we pursue ever fuel us. We wind up spending our lives searching for water that will stick, instead of repairing the jug and developing the gifts that we’ve been given.
Why Do We Avoid Repairing the Cracks?
If the jug is made up of truth, the cracks and holes are made up of lies.
I can’t let anyone know that I’m broken. I have to fix this myself.
Feeling like I’m enough is a privilege that’s tied to my performance.
If I was really loveable, my jug wouldn’t be broken in the first place.
Repairing those cracks is not just hard work. It’s painful work. Removing lies and replacing them with truth is like re-setting a broken arm that healed badly.
And, we’re human. We’re barely willing to do hard work. We’re willing to sacrifice a lot to avoid doing painful work.
I can’t convince you that the benefits of a repaired jug are worth the pain of the repair process. You have to decide that for yourself.
I do know that a lot of people want to live fully alive, to shower their gifts on the world, and they want it enough to submit to the process of repairing their jugs before trying to fill them up one more time.
One of the Biggest Lies We Believe
But, one of the most insidious lies that keep us pouring, pouring, pouring, is something my Pastor mentioned this Sunday.
It’s the idea that God will whip out his magic wand and fill your broken jug, if you just ask him to.
Just turn to Jesus, child! Ask Him. He’ll fill you RIGHT UP!
Yes. The Lord heals.
But he’s smart enough to know that step one is not ‘Fill the jug’. Step one is ‘Repair the jug’, even for the one who made it in the first place.
So, if you’re longing to stop pouring only to watch your life’s fuel soak into the ground at your feet, maybe it’s time to book yourself in for a repair.
Just be ready, because you’re no more capable of repairing your jug alone than you are of resetting your own broken arm.
Sure, God may show up, in person. But it’s more likely that he’ll call on someone else to hold your hand through the painful parts.
If he raised them up to help you, they’ve got the fuel in their jug to take it. So go on. Squeeze as hard as you need to get the painful work done.