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Through "The Basics with Beth," Beth Jones is helping people to live the life they love and love the life they live. Get the basics to live an empowered life!

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Oil and Water

Kelsey Jones

Have you ever felt discouraged because you feel like you don’t quite measure up? I’ve found myself in the same tension before - somewhere caught between who I once was and who I’d like to be. There’s multiple stories in the Bible where a person felt like they didn’t quite measure up, but God used them mightily because they were willing to be obedient and, despite their discouragement, were able to look ahead and trust God to fill what otherwise seemed hopeless. Let’s take a look at two women, different circumstances, but who were both impacted by The All-Fulfilling God. 

Take a look at the woman who made the decision to ask for help to save her sons in 2 Kings 4:1-4: 

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.' Elisha replied to her, 'How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?' 'Your servant has nothing there at all,' she said, 'except a small jar of olive oil.' Elisha said, 'Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.'"

And Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John 4:

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?' (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'”

The woman who had the oil jar felt as though she had nothing to offer Elisha except an oil jar. The woman speaking to Jesus at the well was surprised that a Jew would talk to a Samaritan, let alone ask her for a drink! She felt she had nothing to offer Jesus because of her status. 

In both situations, we see God fill what once was seen as useless. At first the woman with the oil jar downplayed the exact tool in which God would use miraculously to save her household, but picked it up in full trust and saw God fill many more than just her oil jar. The woman at the well had a water jar, but left it sitting at the well as soon as she understood the spring of water Jesus offered would never run dry, and that it’s available for her. Both had containers, and in the end, both the oil jar and the woman at the well overflowed with the promise and goodness of God. 

I think when we limit what God can do with the container we perceive ourselves to be - our ability, skills, past, strength, and will - it’s easy to feel discouraged. But when we have the revelation that these two women latched hold of - that God is in the business of taking what you might feel is insignificant and small and using it to fulfill a larger purpose, we can move forward from discouragement and into expectation of what God can and will do. 

Both of these stories are not about the ability or status of either woman, it's about the nature of God to keep giving as long as we have room to receive...and then some. He will take what is in our hand, and paired with our obedience, use us to show His miraculous power. There’s a verse Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 MSG in the context of encouraging believers to do their best for God, he says: “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.”

My prayer for you today is for you to transform into the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. A container that is ever expanding to receive as God supplies. Not shrunken by discouragement and doubt, but enlarged by the great love and faithfulness of God. That you wouldn’t be discouraged because you feel like your small oil or water jar won’t get the job done. Trust God to supply the oil and the living water, as you continually and daily transform into a container God can use to testify his goodness. 

Finally, be encouraged that both as an individual and as a collective church body, we are made full and complete by Christ who fills all things with himself. Ephesians 1:23 says, “And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

Let’s pray today and ask God to expand our container and to fill us with the fullness of Christ!

Say It: “Dear Father, I ask you to expand my container, help me to enlarge my heart of receptivity towards you. I pray that I might be transformed into the type of container that can present any and every kind of gift to your people - that you would use me mightily and help me to awaken others to this truth as well. I pray that as my container expands and enlarges that you will fill my life with the fullness of You and Your Goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”