Running Home with an Empty Bucket

Once upon a time, a man took a bucket to the city well many miles away from his home to draw water for his family. He took his family bucket. The man drew a bucket full of clear drinking water and started back home. When he got home he was surprised to find his bucket was completely empty. Somehow, unbeknownst to him, the bucket developed a hole. The hole was small and imperceptible. Since the walk home was so long, by the time he arrived, his bucket was completely empty. The person in this story is you. The bucket in this story is your heart!

Many people I know have a small, imperceptible hole in their bucket. The bucket I’m referring to today is the bucket that contains your hopes and your dreams. The bucket carries your joy and your peace. It’s a bucket that makes your life feel full and pleasurable.

Running home to race the empty bucket

It doesn’t matter how hard you run home, your bucket will still be empty when you need it most. Remember, the bucket we’re referring to today is the human heart. As you can’t out run your own heart, the harder you run, the faster your heart beats. The faster your heart beats, the more the hole in your heart leaks. There’s no out running what’s inside you.

I see people every day who get up in the morning, run as hard as they can all day long, and lay in bed exhausted at night still missing something. They are looking for work, promotion, satisfaction, or pleasure to fill this hole in the bucket. The problem is, none of that stuff fits the hole. So, run as hard as you can; look as far as you’d like. Material things can’t fill the hole in your heart.

Trying to fill the hole with something that doesn’t fit

When people finally get smart enough to realize they can’t out run the hole in their heart, they start looking for something to plug the hole. Imagine if the guy who went to the well tries to use a set of pliers to plug the hole. Imagine he tries to use a screwdriver, duct tape or bubblegum to plug the hole in his bucket. Although these things may slow down the leak, they will not fill the hole. You need a perfectly shaped plug to fill the hole in the bucket.

Do you realize you can’t even help someone with their bucket until you get your bucket full? You can’t come alongside a friend and help him bring water home to his family if your bucket won’t hold water either. You must first fill your bucket if you’re going to be of any use to someone with an empty bucket.

It’s a cross-shaped hole

Your friend at work, your neighbor across the street, your classmate all have a cross-shaped hole in their heart. It’s part of the human condition. The human heart was built to long for something more than money, a promotion at work, or physical relationships. Your heart was created with a cross-shaped hole in it! Psalm 42:1-2 describes it like a deer longing for something to drink. This is how the human soul longs for God. The Psalm says this image describes a person with a soul that is thirsty for God.

All human beings have a thirst inside them that can only be quenched by a relationship with God (Jeremiah 17:13). All of us have a cross shaped hole because we were all created to be in relationship with our maker. We were brought on this Earth to enjoy a relationship with God. That relationship was broken by our sin. It is our sin that separates us from God. It is our sin that created the cross-shaped hole in the first place.

God took the initiative on our behalf. God sent his Son Jesus to earth as payment for our sins. It was the cross of Jesus Christ that finally and fully fills the hole in the human heart (Isaiah 44:3). Now sinful people can be intimate with a holy God, through the blood of Jesus. You can’t out run the cross shaped hole in your heart. Nothing can take the place of a relationship with God (Jeremiah 2:13). Nothing else can fill the hole in your heart except being right with God through surrender to his Son, Jesus.

Rather than running hard all day long, run to Jesus. Rather than looking for joy and satisfaction somewhere that will let you down, find your joy in Jesus. Surrender to him and let him fill you with living water (John 4:10). Come to Jesus and you’ll never go to the well again, because Jesus will create in you a well of living water that is spring fed from inside your soul.


Further reading

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