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Communion 2010

Bring Your Own Bucket

Originally scheduled for April 25, 2010

Let’s begin with a stereotype: “the old oaken bucket.” Can you see a picture in your mind of a well, probably with brick walls? There’s a frame over the top, and a bucket hanging from a windlass. Can you picture that in your mind?

Sometimes our stereotypes get in the way of the truth. In John chapter 4 Jesus meets a woman at the well of Jacob. Our picture shows the bucket. But if you read the account carefully at verse 11, you will discover something: this well had no bucket. You had to bring your own. Our stereotype is wrong for this one.

We have a similar stereotype in our thinking about life. Americans are particularly fond of the metaphor of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. If we may translate that to this picture, we believe that the well is there – but you have to bring your own bucket to life. Sometimes we approach Communion like that. Oh, we’re grateful, of course. We are thankful for the occasion; that’s the proper attitude. But we go from gratitude to laying out before God just what we’re going to do. If we feel guilty about something, we promise to fix it. If we feel that someone else should feel guilty, we pray for them too. We believe in the “do it yourself” method.

The reality is different:

You must begin with self-examination. This is a time between you and your Lord, and he commands you to examine yourself – no one else.

Having examined, you must then practice repentance. Sadly, for most of us, repentance is not done once, but practiced all too frequently.

When the sin is confessed, then ask for help. You cannot fix yourself.

The well of grace is deep indeed, but you have no bucket. Mercifully, the living water of grace overflows to all who will follow Christ.

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