A frequent prayer of Christians is that we be useful vessels to the Lord. Recently a thought occurred to me that changed my prayer just a wee bit. My prayer now is that I not just be a useful vessel, but a clean one.
I try to drink a lot of water. I love the water that runs through the filter and out the dispenser on the front of my refrigerator. It’s already chilled (although I still love to add the crushed ice that comes from the neighboring dispenser), and the flavor is just right. The water that comes out of that dispenser is cool, refreshing nourishment for my body.
Occasionally, however, the water ends up tasting anything but pure. Any number of things can cause such a tragedy. A cup that wasn’t rinsed well. An ice cube somehow infected with a nasty foreign contaminant. A crumb or two accidentally dropped into my cup. Or even (if you’re not a parent or have a weak stomach, you might want to skip this one!) the residue left behind from a child who decided to drink from my cup before completely swallowing whatever mouthful of food created the need for liquid refreshment. Even in a home where the goal is to thoroughly clean dishes, accidents may happen.
The refreshment that God pours into me was referred to by Jesus as living water (see John 4:7-29). And, the goal is not that I will hold onto what He has poured into me, but that I will be a vessel through which that refreshment can be passed on to others.
There is no question of my longing and desire to be a willing vessel. Oh, how greatly I long for the beauty of Christ to flow through me to others. But, so often I find myself muddying the refreshment of my Savior. I muddy it with my attitude, my agenda, my emotions. Sin in my life affects the quality of what pours out. My tendency to rely on my own strength instead of the Lord’s can have a negative impact. So many things can reduce the flow and quality of what God intends for me to pour out to others.
So, my goal becomes two-fold. On the one hand, I long to continually grow in my willingness to be poured out for the sake of drawing others to Christ. On the other hand, I desire to grow in such a way that with each passing moment the Lord is able to cleanse just a little more of this vessel. May the living water that flows through me tomorrow be cleaner that what flows through me today.