By Jan Loyd
Several years ago, John and I were blessed by a visit from one of our favorite Bible school professors, who had just retired from many years of teaching Bible and theology. Over the years, he and his wife would often stop for an overnight visit in the course of their travels.
On this particular visit, I got up early so I could walk with my prof in the morning before he left to return home. As we walked and talked, he spoke of his years of teaching and made a statement that grabbed my attention. “I teach from a reservoir.”
I knew what he meant in the context of our conversation. He taught his theology and Bible classes from a plethora of scriptural knowledge and doctrine as a result of years of study and teaching. But as I continued to reflect on this statement in the following days, I realized that the reservoir that my professor taught from was not just Bible truth but truth in relationship with him, who is truth himself. He seemed to live from the reservoir of the indwelling Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
“What is a reservoir?” you may ask. It’s a container that holds something in storage for future use. When we use the word literally, we usually think of a structure that holds water. But we can use the word figuratively also.
And in that sense, we could say that each of us lives from/out of a reservoir. Yes, it’s true! Even Jesus used the same concept, but different words, in the following verses:
For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure [reservoir] of his heart brings forth what is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure [reservoir] brings forth what is evil, for his mouth speaks from [out of] that which fills his heart.
—Luke 6:43–45 (NASB, emphasis added).
This reminds me of a favorite saying of another godly professor, Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary.
You cannot impart what you do not possess!
In a very real sense, whether it’s parenting, teaching, friending, neighboring, working, or ministering to others in a physical, emotional, or spiritual way—you cannot give out to others what you do not have. And you cannot possess anything of real, spiritual value unless it comes from/out of the fullness (reservoir) of the Spirit. Then as Jesus promised, “From [out of] his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38 NASB, emphasis added).
Jan Loyd’s ministry, A Branch in the Vine, is a member of Network 220. This blog is an excerpt from Jan’s book The WITH-ness of our God and you can learn more by visiting her website abranchinthevine.com