The Water Bearers

By Billie Silvey

I am not a psychologist.  I have read a few psychology books, but it was mostly from living inside myself that I came to realize that I have needs.  Our culture exalts self-sufficiency.  Those with obvious needs are considered to be of inferior moral fiber.  Living inside myself, aware of my needs, I felt inferior and isolated from all seemingly self-sufficient people around me.

Then I discovered psychology.  Psychology told me that needs are O.K.  Everybody has them.  We all need love, understanding, acceptance, recognition, and esteem, being a part of a family or some greater whole, self-expression and celebration, emotional security, and confession.

Turning to the Scriptures with fresh eyes, I was surprised to find that God had recognized these principles from the beginning.  He created us with these needs.  And He also created a group to meet these needs–a group of loving, understanding people who accept me for what I am, appreciate my strengths, and accept my weaknesses.  A group I can belong to, contribute to, and share with.  A group I can feel confident with and open up and confess to.

 The Church Meets Our Needs

Suddenly the church, that group of people I’d met with regularly since childhood, took on a new dimension.  It became my “need-meeter.”

In I rushed, eyes bright with expectation, holding out my empty cup of needs, expecting it to be filled immediately.  I was shocked and disappointed to find myself surrounded by people with empty cups, looking with anticipation at me!  Nobody brought any water!  Disillusioned, I trudged back home.  God’s plan was good, but it fell short in actual practice.

It had taken me a long time to recognize the first principle: that everyone has needs, that it’s no shame to have them, and that God knows our needs and has provided for them to be met.  It is taking me even longer to learn the second: that if we are seeking only to have our personal needs met, we’re doomed to disappointment.

It is only when we forget our own empty cup and concentrate on filling someone else’s that we discover with delight that our own cup is getting fuller.  While we were busy filling, we were being filled as well.  This is the only way it happens.


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