I woke up very early on Tuesday morning, September 27th. John was still asleep when I slipped out of the bungalow. I took along a small cup of wine and a roll that I had saved from the meal the night before. I wanted to take communion at the Sea of Galilee. I waited a while and let the lights in Tiberius grow dim. Inevitably, the sun conquered the night, and another day was born. I had a conversation with Jesus somewhat along these lines.
I said, “Lord, you know my heart. You know that I have never been able to touch the hem of your garment during communion. Is there something wrong with me? You have told us to take communion, but to me it has always been a sterile and formal act. I really need some understanding and help.” Nevertheless, I took communion by myself, hoping something would happen. I waited and listened. Nothing happened.
I had a little bit of wine left and most of the roll. I looked at both and pondered what to do next. I was prompted to get out of my chair and pour the rest of the wine on the stone table. It discolored the stone. I was reminded of how Jesus poured out His blood for me, and I felt this incredible relief and completion that I had done something similar by coming to Israel and experiencing Jerusalem, the way my Savior had.
I felt like a heavy load was removed from my shoulders. I was poured out. I love the idea of being poured out. My whole life since I became one with Jesus has been one of being poured out. Instead of serving self, I have looked for ways of serving Him and others. If I could not be poured out, I felt stifled. If I was not poured out, new wine, new life could not be poured into me. I experience the presence of the Holy Spirit when I am poured out. I sense rivers of Living Water coursing into and through me. It is a matter of life and death that I am poured out. I am frustrated when I cannot give. I must give, but I also must first acquire wisdom before I can give like Jesus gave.
Open your eyes, oh body of Christ. Jesus is pouring His life out through many saints. Oh, what pain, for both the Giver and the delivery agent when someone discredits or dishonors a gift from the heart!
One of our proofreaders of this manuscript was deeply stirred by the last two paragraphs. I therefore felt directed to make an addition to the manuscript by sharing her words.
“As Jesus pours this living water through our new wineskin we are transformed into His image. Our fleshly body remains our only attachment to this world. We are led away, by His Spirit to a new place. We operate in our bodies, but are not of this world. As Jesus pours more and more of His nature into us, we are transported into the realm of the Holy Spirit. As we are led by the Holy Spirit to allow rivers of living water to flow through us in ministry, our hearts become tender, almost too tender for the touch of human hands.
“As His gift is poured from us, our spirits, bonded with His, become increasingly sensitive to the coarseness of the world around us. Jesus himself wept over Jerusalem, his home. Oh the pain when someone discredits or dishonors a gift from the heart. The gifts that flow from our heart, when anointed by Him, are His gifts to the body of humanity.
“As we step with uncertain boldness into this arena, our spirit girded with hope and faith, pushes us onward. We do things that our flesh would have shied away from, we venture out into the unknown, coached by our heavenly brother, Jesus. ‘You can do it, I have placed My Spirit within you.’ Our spirit man relies on only the Spirit of God -- “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.”
“Forgive me brothers and sisters, when my life becomes too fragile for even the touch from those I love dearly. Pray for me to be strengthened to dwell in your world again. For now, I do not know if that is possible. For today, I am comforted only by God’s peace, only by His spirit, and only by His loving arms.”
His Fragile Handmaiden
PETER IS REMINDED
And just now I am reminded of these encouraging and prophetic words, spoken over Rebekah and myself in Austin, Texas, on February 8, 1981. The only reason I can quote these words verbatim is that they were recorded in our first book, The Wood Blossom (12)
Peter & Rebekah
My dear children—Yes, I have overflowed your cup. I have filled and overfilled my work in the cup of your lives. The flow of my Spirit shall continue to run over in your lives so that other cups may also be filled. As my Spirit flows out of you, it shall flow into the hearts of many of my children who are holding out their cups in expectancy. Many are waiting for their filling; and I shall use you as a deep well of my living water. The water is sweetened to perfection by the sweetness of my Spirit in you. You are one cup—given for many.
There it is. I have connected all the dots. The Lord used the stone table to show me the purpose of my life—to be poured out for the sake of others. We all must find our own stone table. We must find that place and way of giving that satisfies the deepest longings in our soul. We must all be willing to go to “Jerusalem,” our place of pain and sacrifice when He calls us to go there. I am bonded with Jesus more intimately because I was willing to taste His pain in Jerusalem.
We cannot live without giving ourselves away. In order to live, we must give and be poured out for the benefit of those who are hungry, thirsty, and hopeless. Many are waiting with empty cups. Their needs will not be obvious to us unless our own vessels have been bruised and broken. Brokenness causes the veil between heaven and earth, between your heart and my heart and the heart of Jesus to melt away. The veneer of civilization is very thin – brokenness removes that veneer. Brokenness and pain remove the masks we wear.
We are all given a choice; we can embrace suffering or drown out our pain. Without having suffered, we have no compassion for others.
Compassion puts us in touch with God, with Jesus, and with those who are silently screaming for help. Jesus was touched by our infirmities and healed many. That’s how God works – compassion is the key that causes the River of Life to flow into us and through us to others. We are not to give in the name of the Red Cross, the government, our church or some philanthropist, but in the name of Jesus. Nothing is lost if the world forgets this author or the name of some “do-gooder;” but everything is lost if it forgets the name of Jesus.
We will not receive a heavenly reward unless we come and give in the name of heaven, in the name of Jesus. If we come in our own name, in the name of some world leader, in the name of the CEO of a “Fortune 500” company, or even in the name of a celebrated personality like the Pope, doors may open for us, but those doors may not be the right doors. We are to come in the name of the Lord, in the mighty name of Jesus or not come at all. If He does not send us, there is no reason to go because we will have nothing of worth to deliver or we will make our deliveries to the wrong address or at the wrong moment.
We must not see ourselves as deliverers, rescuers, or the bright morning star, but merely as delivery agents for God. Moses was not the deliverer; he was God’s delivery boy – God’s instrument. We must be willing to touch the sick and needy and then quickly disappear before reporters come to scoop up the big story and splash our names across the front page of a tabloid type newspaper or magazine. We must be willing to let Jesus pour us out completely just as He allowed Himself to be poured out on our behalf. We only get to keep what we give away freely; and that includes our life.