Are You a Canal or a Reservoir?

by Dr. Ted Wueste


Nine-hundred years ago, Bernard of Clairvaux wrote something so profound it still resonates today. He observed:

“The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself … Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare … You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.?”

Are you a canal or a reservoir?

What plagued the church nine-hundred years ago still plagues us today: we struggle to wait on God’s timing and His provision. We desire to be a blessing to others before we have fully received from God. Bernard’s admonition to “not try to be more generous than God” is convicting. Are we “loving” others quickly and frenetically or slowly and intentionally, drawing from a deeper source?

“Canals” can run dry but “reservoirs” are able to keep sharing because there is a depth that can withstand dry seasons.

The Holy Scriptures speak of the way that genuine love occurs …

            “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

As we engage His love, we are able to love others. As we allow ourselves to be embraced by Him, we are able to embrace others. It is no coincidence that Jesus’ first public act was His baptism (Matthew 3).  As He received “belovedness” from the Father, He shared it with others. It is also important to note Jesus went into a time of temptation next, so that His belovedness was tested and fortified in His heart (Matthew 4).

When was the last time you stopped long enough to rest in your belovedness? How are you engaging the “soul work” needed to see your belovedness tested and fortified?

As we engage His love for us, we can become reservoirs that spill out into the lives of others. Otherwise, we run the risk of running dry with a reserve to love others well.

Consider joining us at one of our upcoming opportunities to rest in your belovedness and engage in some soul work … so that you can fill your reservoir.

June 28, Soul Care Day

August 2-4, Praying Monk Retreat

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