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Fill My Cup, Lord

by Joyce Broyles

This article is a condensed version of a talk given at the Pine Prairie Ladies' Day back in August of this year.  If you can use it in the Word and Work, please do.  God bless you and the others who have kept the magazine going.  Thank you.


About 35 years ago, I wrote a  poem asking God to "Take the cup of my heart" and fill it with love because I had been feeling sorry for myself.  I had just moved my family 9,000 miles to Saudi Arabia, I'd just had a miscarriage, and I was scared to death!  I prayed for God to fill my heart with love, but I felt as though He said to me, "I can't."

That shocked me, so I kept praying for a long time, asking Him again and again.  Finally, I felt God telling me, "I can't fill your heart because it's already full of stuff.  I can't fill it until you get rid of all your own plans and goals, and the sinfulness and the selfishness."

I had been a Christian for over 25 years, and I knew that when God calls us, He accepts us just as we are, but I also knew He loves us too much to leave us like that.  I thought of that when I read about the woman at the well in John 4.

How much of a sacrifice does God demand?  That depends on us.  To one man Jesus said to sell everything he owned, but to another he said only to go and sin no more.   For me, there was a dark thing in my heart, separating me from God.  What He wanted was confession and repentance.  I think the same thing happened to the Samaritan woman.

Most of us have filled our lives with things we love, and that's good, but sometimes we love them more than we should.  They're not all bad but they're not necessary, and they take up too much of our time and our money.

If our cup is full of garbage, we need to dump it out!  We have to do this regularly.  I've been a believer for 65 years!  65 years!  Do you think I don't still have to refocus and dump out the garbage regularly?  I teach a Sunday school class of teenagers, and a few years ago, one of my students said to me , "Miss Joyce, you're so old, I bet you don't sin anymore!"  I wish!

We have to make an effort to surrender to Jesus everything that has filled our lives, including people, things, and pleasures.  I promise you, if you do that, you won't have to worry about what you're going to do without them.  God will fill your cup with Jesus, and He'll give you much more than you had before!  Because, when you finally have nothing, then Jesus can come in.

Can I explain about being filled with Jesus?  Paul wrote to the Colossians Christians in 1:27, "God has chosen to make known the glorious riches of this mystery, which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory."  The great mystery Paul writes about is the fact that Jesus can live in us.  We are Gentiles, and before that time they didn't know that we, the Gentiles, would be admitted to the church on equal terms with the Jews!  Check out Ephesians 3:6 .   "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." (Emphasis mine)

Did you hear that "together... together... together"?  The repetition of that word shows that we are equal.  That was prophesied in the Old Testament and now it's come to pass.  That's what makes the story of the Samaritan woman so wonderful!  She wasn't a Jew either!  Her story applies to us in so many ways!

In John 4, Jesus arrives at the well, tired, hungry, and thirsty.   The Jews thought of the Samaritans like dogs, polluted, so they couldn't even touch them!  So, why would this Jewish man want to drink from this woman's "polluted" cup?

Of course, Jesus used this as a way to open the conversation to tell her about the "living water."  Jesus was speaking about spiritual water, but she thought He meant literal water.   She was thinking this Jewish man must be greater than Jacob, maybe a magician,  if He has living water!  Jesus tells her, in effect, that people who keep drinking this water will stay thirsty, this water symbolizing anything the world has to offer.

Immediately, the woman asks for the living water.  Of course, she didn't know what she was saying.    Then she decides that this Jewish man is a prophet.  Of course, Jesus knows all about her already.  He told her to go get her husband, and by saying that, He forced her to admit her sin.

When Jesus said that to the woman, she may have felt caught or found out.   Before she could be converted, Jesus had to touch her conscience, which meant dealing with her sin.   "I have no husband."  This woman had a past, and she stood before Jesus with all her sins exposed.  She was guilty!  Jesus offered her forgiveness freely, to find hope in having her cup filled!

But, like many of us when we realize we're wrong, she didn't listen to the voice of conviction.

Instead of listening to Jesus, confessing her sin and repenting, the woman tried to get him sidetracked.  She wanted to discuss the difference between the Jewish and the Samaritan religions!  That was more comfortable than facing her sins.  And we're the same way.  We don't like to admit our wrongs, either.

Patiently, Jesus tells her she doesn't know who to worship, where to worship, or how to worship!  He lets her know that not all religions are acceptable to God.  Jesus tells her that since Messiah has come, the old law had been fulfilled and now anyone could worship God anywhere.  We aren't limited to the Jewish temple anymore!

And then, as it were, a light came on!  Ding, the penny dropped!  The moment is wonderful!

The woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us."  Then Jesus leans toward her, points his finger at his heart, and says, "That's me!"

In spite of her ignorance, the woman knew Messiah was coming!  Jesus' eyes must have shined as He told her the secret!  "I am the Messiah!"  Imagine the look on her face!  And she believes Him!

When she put her faith in Jesus, she was converted and now she's a believer!  Immediately, she wanted to share her faith with others!  She left her water pot and hurried into the city.  Now, she had the living water inside and now she is satisfied.  She has her cup filled!

Then she ran to the first person she saw and told her story!  She told them, "I just talked to a man who knows everything I ever did!"  She had confidence in Jesus, the living water.  He refreshed her faith.  He filled her cup!

And you know what?  He can do the same for you and me.  Her exuberance reminds me of the glow we had when we were baptized.  We must not ever become complacent or ungrateful about our salvation.  Let's remember to keep the joy we had when we first let Jesus be our Messiah, our Savior!

The Samaritan woman didn't come to faith in Jesus immediately.  Jesus was patient with her, which is a good example for us.  We probably would not have chosen her to give our witness to, but Jesus did, and won the small town to Himself!

Working for the Lord marks us as Christians.  You know what?  I think we preach all the time!  And sometimes, we use words!

When we repent and let God fill our cup with Jesus, He can use us to win others to Him, and who knows what all He can do through us if we let Him!

To keep us on the right track, we need to pray like David did in Psalm 119:36.  "Turn my eyes from worthless things toward your Word!"  That would help us get rid of our own agenda and wrong goals and keep us full of Jesus.

That way, our cup overflows with love.  It's not just a feeling.  It's something we do, because love is a verb.  We love people when no one else will.  Look around and you'll see Christians in the act of loving, caring for people

Do you remember the movie Hope Floats? Little Bernice is abandoned by her father, left in the center of the road as he drives off and she's crying and screaming.  It's a very moving scene.  So, she and her mother go to live with her grandmother Ramona.  Much later, Bernice tells her grandmother, "I love you, Grandma," and Ramona, who loves Bernice so much,  answers, "My cup runneth over."

At the end of the movie, when Bernice's mother finds a new love and he also loves Bernice, they're now a happy family, walking hand in hand, and Bernice says, "My cup runneth over."

That's how it is when God fills your cup after you empty it.  Your cup runneth over!  Kind of like a Dairy Queen blizzard that runs down the side of the cup if you don't eat it fast enough!

Trying to meet life our own way doesn't work because we're broken.  A cracked or broken cup can't hold water.  We have to let God heal us and create our new cup ready to be filled.  When we let Him fill us, we're on the road to becoming like Jesus.  We don't immediately become perfect, but we no longer have to stay broken.

But we have to let  God create our new cup.   We can't make our own cup, because then we might be proud of it and say, "See my cup?  Look at what I did!" Just let God forgive us and make our new cup!

And, when we receive His gift of Jesus, we can't ignore Him.  That's not the end.  He's our Savior, but He must also be our Lord, our Master, and we must obey Him.   We may have tough transitions, but we have a responsibility to surrender to His voice and to His prompting.

Surrendering prepares our heart and allows Jesus to lead and direct.  We surrender to greater things.  When our cup is full of Jesus, we can be aware of His presence and focus on Him.

After we empty our cup, we want God to fill it with Jesus.  How does He do that?  To be like someone, we have to spend time with them.  So, we must spend time talking to God in prayer and listening to Him as we read the Bible.

Through 45 years of teaching, I went through 3 generations of kids!  I saw family resemblance and often called students by their older sibling's names.  I could say, "You look just like your dad --- You're a Marceaux, aren't you?" or "I see the Broussard in you!"   In the same way, believers should have a family resemblance to Jesus!  The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth in his 2nd letter, 3:18that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus in our attitudes and character.  We should be honest, humble, loving, and compassionate.  Isn't it great to have someone say to us, "You're a Christian, aren't you?  I see Jesus in you!"

When we pray, "Fill my cup, Lord," remember we'll have Jesus, God the Son, living in us with His heart of grace.  We need to look for people who need that gentle touch of grace.   We must not just sit in God's house every Sunday.  We have to  BE God's house, every day!

When we're discussing religious ideas, there are some things we just cannot compromise on, like acknowledging Jesus as God's son.  We have to agree on that.  That's DOGMA.

Then there's DOCTRINE, important ideas, but not foundational.  Even if I don't agree with someone, I could still worship with him.

And then there's OPINIONS.  (I've been accused of quoting from Opinions 4:13 often!)   Those are our own personal preferences and traditions.  We cannot compromise on Dogma, but we can worship with others whose doctrines and opinions differ because with the love of God in our hearts, we can agree to disagree and worship God together.

Just remember, we're free in Jesus, so we don't have to follow man-made rules.  That's why we need to know what the Bible says!  We just need to make sure that Jesus is the Lord of our life and we obey Him as we follow Him.

I pray that our hearts will be so filled with Jesus that we will be so pure, so full of his righteousness, so Christ-like, that our good deeds will spill over as acts of worship!  We want Jesus to live in us and bubble out of us.  Then we can expect great things!

Remember, God loves you, just because you exist.  Jesus loved the Samaritan woman at the well.  She went back and just told her story.  And that's the point!  Jesus' love doesn't depend on what we have, what we are, or what we can do for Him.  We just ask God to fill our cup.  Like He did for the woman at the well, He will take care of the rest!

He will fill you with Jesus, and as you become more and more like Him, He will rock your world!


        Joyce Broyles is a member of the Jennings (LA) Church of Christ, which recently celebrated                                 

                   the 100 year anniversary of the congregation.


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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33