Loving Others

Pouring Out Water

Sitting here in my warm cozy house looking out at the snowy windstorm outside my window it would only make sense that my daily Bible reading would take me to a time and place that is saturated with warmth and dryness. To a desert full of people in battle over one kingdom’s failing to deliver the promised 100,000 lambs and wool of a hundred thousand rams.

I love the Old Testament.

Three kings, (not quite the ones you’re thinking of, these ones aren’t always so wise) from Judah, Israel, and Edom gathered together to right this wrong and have marched their troops on a roundabout route through the desert for 7 days and they, shockingly, are trying to figure out what to do because they don’t have enough water for everyone. (If you want to read this passage with me, you can find it here)

Now, as so many of us do after rushing into our decisions with little to no planning but a lot of determination, they find themselves without the resources that they need. And the solution?

Call in the prophet.

Call in the person who has the answers from God because they’ve determined that yes, they should probably talk to God about this before attacking a nation for not delivering on their promises.

Even though there’s so much in just that story for us about moving ahead without talking with God, that’s not the part that struck me.

It was a phrase about the prophet who they decide to consult. His name is Elisha.

And it’s not so much that it is Elisha himself, but what stopped me was the description an officer in the army used to describe Elisha.

An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” (2 Kings 3:11b NIV)

He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.

There are so many elements in that phrase. The implication that Elisha learned under Elijah and the legitimacy that brought. The implications of the depth of their relationship as they travelled together, two men who left their families to serve God in this way.

But at this point, Elijah has been taken up to heaven and Elisha in his own right has performed many miracles in God’s name and has the respect and affirmation of Israel’s prophets.

He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.

What does this kind of service represent?

When I stopped and sat with this phrase I started to think about ways that I pour out water for others.

As Elisha served this man who served God in mighty ways, how am I serving others in ways that enable them to serve God better?

How do I support the leaders that I serve under?

Where can I help others in ways that make ministry easier for them?

This is for all of us, I think. Elisha, in the beginning of his ministry could have been known for the miracles he performed and the wisdom he imparted. The officer could have said “This is Elisha, the man who healed the water of Jericho”. Elisha himself was a great leader of the prophets of Israel.

But he was known for how he served. He was known because he chose to support another great leader and prophet while he himself took the opportunity to learn and serve alongside.

What a life-giving image, the pouring out of water. Helping others wash away the weariness, help them prepare to rest and recharge. To support and bring to others what they might not know they need in the moment.

It’s not a grasping sort of service, this pouring out. It’s an acknowledgement that as you journey you will learn, you will grow, and your gifts will also be utilized. Elisha chose a path of service and learning and through that God showed him the miraculous and equipped him to show the Mighty God of Israel to a nation who had forgotten him.

So where am I pouring out water?

Where am I looking around me at people who are serving and leading and where am I seeking out how I can help and learn from them?

Where am I standing ready to pour out what I have?