When are you leaving?” she asked. “Good!” was her unkind response to his answer. His face didn’t reveal how those words seared across his little boy heart. The tears ran hot at home, though, and his parents called to let us know how upset he was. Consequences were given and lessons on how our words can hurt, and she was old enough to know better!
That night at bedtime a book was selected: “Have you filled a bucket today?” by Carol McCloud. It begins: “All day long, everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket . . . Your bucket has one purpose only. Its purpose is to hold your good thoughts and good feelings about yourself. You feel very happy and good when your bucket is full, and you feel very sad and lonely when your bucket is empty”, (4-9). The book explains that when we are kind, we help fill other’s buckets while even adding to our own at the same time. But when we are unkind to someone, it’s like we’ve taken a ladle and dipped into their bucket, all the while, not adding anything to our own.
The “Aha” moment came for my daughter when we read this: “A bucket dipper says or does mean things that make others feel bad. Many people who dip have an empty bucket”, (16). That’s when her own hot tears fell. “That’s why!” she cried. “That’s why I said that to him. He and so & so were whispering and I heard my name – they’re always mean!”
It is out of our emptiness that we have little to give in order to help fill up the buckets of those around us – especially to the ones who are being hurtful. So, how do we keep our bucket full? On page 11 of the book it says, “It’s great to have a full bucket and this is how it works . . . You need other people to fill your bucket and other people need you to fill theirs”. That’s when Holy Spirit tugged at my mama heart because there is something not completely right about that!
Here is another story about buckets . . .
There was once a woman who went daily to the town well with her empty bucket to collect water. She didn’t go at the usual time of day when the other local women went; rather, she chose to go when she was less likely to run into anyone – you know, to avoid those other women who had nothing nice to say to her, who always whispered while glancing snidely her way, dipping into the invisible bucket that she too had.
One day when she arrived at the well there was a man sitting there, but not just any man, he was a Jew. She was a Samaritan and the two just didn’t associate with each other. But, this man spoke to her. In fact, he asked her to draw up some water for him to have a drink. She responded: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”,(John 4:9).
The man named 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”, (John 4:10). “What a strange thing to say”, she must have thought!
She didn’t realize it was her invisible bucket he was offering to fill. Pointing to the well, Jesus explained: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. Jesus knew the many ways in which this woman had tried to fill that invisible bucket of hers. She had sought fulfillment in relationships with men since she evidently didn’t get the kindness and understanding she needed from the women in her life. She had had five husbands, and the man she was with now was not married to her. Carrying a near empty bucket almost every day, she was thirsty for a new kind of water - the kind Jesus promised her that would fill her to the point of overflowing!
Jesus is our ultimate bucket filler! No one else in our life is able to fill us – not in the way that we need to be filled. You see, we can’t fill anyone else’s bucket when ours is empty. And we can’t expect others to keep our buckets filled. They will fail to recognize our needs, they will disappoint us, and it’s an unfair expectation for us to have of them. But the one who offers us living water will never disappoint us because He knows everything about us!. He knows exactly where we are feeling the emptiest each day, and he has just what we need to fill our bucket. Not only will he fill us, but he’ll give us enough to share. Jesus tells us, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me . . . streams of living water will flow from within him”, (John 7:7).
Spending time with Jesus will help us become people who have something to offer to others we meet throughout our day: kindness, patience, gentleness, understanding, love . . .
The next morning as we were waiting for the school bus to arrive, my children and I read a daily scripture and reading from a children’s devotional book. After, my son, with a pensive look on his face, said to me in the words only a seven year old could put together: “Mom, it’s really neat how every time we read scripture, it’s exactly for the kind of day it is!”
Exactly! When we go to Jesus to be filled, He’ll give us exactly what we need for the day. When we seek him daily, and drink from His well, we will have streams of living water within us ready to offer to those we meet. Bring Him your bucket today!
~ Need help bringing your bucket to Jesus? Not sure where to start? We get to know Him through his word – that is how he speaks to us via the Holy Spirit. Devotional books are a great tool to help you in spending time with God. They often share a faith story, and refer to one or more Scripture verses along with a prayer or prayer prompts for your own conversation with Jesus. Many Bibles are devotional Bibles with daily readings throughout. Get to know scripture; get to know Jesus, and you’ll have exactly what you need “for the kind of day it is”! ~
Blessings ~ Elise