As Truthseekers, our main responsibility is to keep our lids off, keep our eyes open for the good pitchers, and dump out the bad water when we find it. However, we have another responsibility too. A glass can only hold so much, and we can only drink so much. Once your glass is full, you can´t put any more into it until you pour some out.
Voila, you have your own pitcher. Now you´re not just looking for more good pitchers; you´re also looking for empty glasses.
It is the obligation of the educated to educate.
If you think about it, you really don´t have an option. If you don´t pour out, you can´t fill up. The only other thing to do would be to put a lid on your glass. As we have already discussed, no water gets in or out if you do that. The arrogant cannot learn, but they ALSO cannot teach!
You can´t hold onto your knowledge and share it at the same time. Although the teacher is superior to the student, if true education is taking place, the student will become equal to the teacher. If the teacher holds out on the student to maintain superiority, the education is incomplete. Worse, the student with the half-full glass might consider themselves educated, become prideful, then slap on a lid of his own. This perpetuates arrogance rather than knowledge.
For this reason, we MUST pour out. Our obligation to pour, however, is matched by our obligation to discern. In other words, it´s our job to watch for the lids. If we try to pour into a glass that has a lid on it, the resulting mess is OUR fault. We have the pitchers of knowledge; therefore, WE are the ones who should know better.
- If someone states something as fact, and you know for a fact that it is NOT a fact, this is a sign of ignorance. Your obligation is to educate the ignorant person in a way that builds him up rather than putting him down. That way, all who hear you will benefit.
- If the ignorant person rejects your education by arguing their original point, which you already know to be false, that´s the lid. At this point, your obligation is to BACK OFF! A Truthseeker must never argue. Remember that Truth is the common ground at the end of the argument. Remember also that arrogance cannot be overcome by logic, since it is rooted in emotion (specifically, pride). In this situation, your emphasis should be on building a relationship with this person rather than building your case against him. In time, if you earn their trust, the lid will come off, and you can proceed with education at that point, when your new friend is open to having his glass filled.
On the other hand, if the other person rejects your education by doing one or more of the following:
- Repeating back what you just said preceded by a variant of the words “it is not. . .” (e.g., You say, “It is a guarantee that you will bust your face if you walk into that tree,” and they respond, “It is not a guarantee,” etc.)
- Shouting back a sentence at you that begins with the words “YOU JUST WANNA” and ends with something that bears no resemblance to your actual intent. (e. g. “You just wanna take away our freedom of choice about where to walk.” Or better yet, “You PEOPLE just wanna. . .”)
- Saying something completely incoherent in a nevertheless condescending tone, frequently followed by a smirk and/or an arm fold (e.g. “Now really, you don´t actually want to be master of the trees, do you?” Smirk, then fold arms as if to show that their logic is supreme)
- Going off topic completely with a series of rhetorical questions beginning with “What about. . .” and ending with a proper noun or a concept that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. (e. g. “What about Mohammed? What about Ukraine? What about the all the other trees in the world?”)
- Quoting something verbatim that just appeared on the Internet last month, which didn´t make any sense then either, yet they seem to think it is ancient knowledge that predates whatever actual knowledge you are trying to convey. (e.g., “Nobody believes that garbage about trees. Everybody knows that `tree story´ is just another method of fear and control that´s been keeping the sheep in line for 2,000 years.”)
These are the people that we have identified as being stupid. Put down the pitcher, and slowly back away.
Water of life
How do we end up in that place of spiritual thirst? Maybe it´s shame or guilt over something we´ve done that makes us think we don´t deserve the water from the good pitchers. So, we wander in the desert, seeking out whatever trickles we can find. But we are never satisfied.
What we really need, instead of a pitcher, is something more like a faucet, or perhaps a spring. Something that can give us water whenever our glass runs empty so that we don´t have to wander in the desert, drinking out of whatever pitcher we find.
Fortunately, we do have one of those available to us.
As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:
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. (John 4:13-14 NIV)
What is this water of life? Later, when Jesus was alone with His disciples at the Last Supper, He explained in more detail:
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for he lives with you and is in you. (John 14:15-17 NIV)
By the grace of God, I have found this spring of living water, the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to be with us, and in us, until Jesus returns to give the earth its extreme makeover as this age concludes.
But the only way this was possible was for me to take off my lid. I have found that the longer the lid stays on, the harder it is to pry off.
I was only seven years old when I put the lid on my empty glass. When I questioned God´s omnipotence in Sunday School, my teacher had an opportunity to explain to me the difference between God´s power and God´s will. Instead, I was condemned for doubting.
So, the lid went on.
And on it stayed, through high school, college, and into marriage and fatherhood.
In my mid-twenties, I met some people with pitchers full of living water, and I had a taste, but quickly slapped the lid back on, because it was my habit by then.
It wasn´t until the age of 33, the same age at which Christ was crucified, that I finally had to admit my glass was empty. My arrogance, and the resulting hostility and rage that arrogance gives birth to, had destroyed my marriage, and shattered my family.
Alone in a church, on my knees, I finally threw my lid away once and for all, and asked God for His living water. And my life has never been the same.
God has given me a brand-new mission, the same one he gives everyone who believes that Jesus was His Son, that he died on the cross as payment for our sins of pride and arrogance and was raised to life again by the power of the very same Holy Spirit that He sends to be a wellspring of life inside of every believer.
We are called to educate the ignorant, love the arrogant, and tolerate the stupid (leaving room for God´s wrath, of course). We have been given the life-giving water, not to keep it to ourselves, but to pour it out for the entire world. It is not by accident that Jesus says,
“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41 NIV)
If you´ve stayed with me this far, your lid is definitely off. Not only that, but you´ve got yourself a brand-new pitcher. Why not try giving it a pour?
But watch out for those lids!