Have you ever thought about the architecture of a cup? An ordinary, everyday cup. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors and designs.
Some are made from plastic. Some begin life as clay. Others are china. Some are metal. Who knows the origin of others?
They all have one thing in common. They’re designed to be poured into. To receive. To hold. To contain something.
In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus gives his disciples instructions on how to truly live as his followers. How to be imitators of their Master. He’s training them and teaching them to carry on the ministry after He’s gone from this earth.
He’s pouring into them. He’s pouring his love into them, but he doesn’t stop there. Because he loves them and he’s called them, he’s pouring questions into their preconceived thoughts about life. He’s showing by his own life how to have true, life-affirming faith with legs.
He’s challenging their judgments. Their ability to forgive. To see others with their hearts, not only with their eyes. To listen deeply to the words that are never spoken. To see past the exterior of a person, a situation, a life and pour into it the love of Jesus.
You see, just as a cup is designed to be poured into, it also has the ability to pour out.
Jesus is preparing the disciples to go out into the world and pour out the Good News. It can be overwhelming to think about doing such a big job. But Jesus says to his disciples, “This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.”
How can we give a cold cup of water to someone? How can we do something in the spirit and love of Jesus? How can we give a Cup of Jesus to others?
It’s easy to judge others, especially if we don’t know what they’ve been through in their lives. Has judging others ever brought someone closer to the Lord? I don’t think so, do you? Jesus himself ate with sinners. He was criticized for talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had a bad reputation. She’d had five husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband.
Jesus didn’t shun her or talk about her behind her back. He met her where she was and loved her, but he didn’t leave her there. She was transformed and became the first evangelist, telling the whole town about Jesus.
Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery. He asked her, “Where are your accusers?” She answered, “They’re all gone.” Then Jesus said to her with such love, “I don’t condemn you either, go and sin no more.” He loved her where she was and then called her to live a changed, redeemed life.
Jesus called Zacchaeus out of the tree saying that he was going to eat at his house. Zacchaeus was a hated tax collector. He was Jewish and cheated his own people. Jesus met him where he was, but by the end of that meal, Zacchaeus was changed. The love of Jesus poured into him and he said that whomever he cheated, he would repay four times.
Jesus touched lepers. He healed the blind. He loved the unlovables and touched the untouchables. Jesus gave a cup of himself to all who would receive him.
Should we do any less? If we are to follow Jesus, we must strive to be like him. We must allow ourselves to be changed. We must love one another and be willing to serve each other. Jesus himself said he came to serve. He washed the disciples’ feet as an act of love and also again to show how they are to act.
How are we to act? In humility and in love. In service to one another. When we give a cup of water to someone, we are giving of ourselves. We are giving them a Cup of Jesus. Like the Woman at the Well, then they too will never thirst again. They will be spiritually satisfied.
As Jesus has poured into us, may we all pour onto others. Each morning as we have our cup of Joe, may we also receive a Cup of Jesus, so we may share that cup with others.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.