Just fill the jars

One day last week I was writing my book. (Okay, I was doing that every day, but that’s not the point here). I was coming up against all the things that hold me back. “You can’t write well enough.” “Your story isn’t interesting enough.” “No one will connect with this.” (Probably all lies, but that’s not the point here either.)

The point is, I was stuck. And the point is what I heard Jesus’ mother say to the servants at the wedding: “Do whatever he tells you to do.”

And the point is what He told them to do: “Fill the jars with water.” It was a lot of work – 120 or 180 gallons of water to haul. But it was something they could do. He didn’t ask them to fill the jars with wine.

Then, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They weren’t asked to stand in judgment over what was in the jars. They were just asked to fill them and offer their contents. (If they’d sipped when they’d finished filling—just to make sure what they were taking to the master was good enough—would they still have tasted water?) Their job was to do what Jesus told them.

I hear myself in the story:

“Fill the jars with water.”

“But I don’t have wine!”

“I just asked you to fill the jars with water.”

“But I don’t know how to make it taste like wine!”

“Just fill the jars with water.”

“But what if the guests don’t like the taste? What if the master fires me? What if . . .?”

“Do whatever he tells you.”

Between us and those we serve, between the water we draw and those who need wine, stands Jesus.

This story is bigger than you.

Just go fill the jars with water.

20 thoughts on “Just fill the jars

  1. Suzy says:

    Looking forward to your book!

  2. Gail Noe says:

    I’m not a blogger and it is 2017 and I am most blessed by today’s post “Wonder If I Can Do It” and this one. Thank you for open honesty. Waiting on Jesus for the next step in my walk as I confront a husband who is stuck in memory loss. My soul is not used to confronting big issues like this but several years ago I started confronting small. Now the Lord is putting BIG ones before me. Learning to trust in very hard places.

  3. starydreamer says:

    that was awesome, I never thought of how the disciples must have felt pouring in water. thank you :D

  4. Aaah, thank you for illustrating such a gloriously SIMPLE way to keep obeying, and trust God for His perfect outcomes. Makes me laugh to think what the apothecary will hold, as we continue to listen to him…

  5. Barbara Kohl says:

    Amen! Or, like Elijah, just build the altar. God sends the fire!

  6. Kathy says:

    Your water was wine for me this morning. Thank you.

  7. Esme Stokhuyzen says:

    Thanks Caroli for these thoughts. Too often “I” get in the way, so a great reminder to just do as I’m asked to do and leave the rest up to God!

  8. Nancy Stack says:

    this is sooo funny! all day I kept asking Jesus “ok what is the next thing?” Ok Lord I really want to go to the lake and enjoy the beauty” ok all I want to do is what You say is important. Ok I will Not read this post till done my assignment. yes Lord.
    Just finished a looong task & so glad it is done & I got to read this as a reward. Yay! I filled the jars! Up to Him to make the wine. and trusting Him for another day to go to the lake!! Thanks for sharing your beauty dear Carolyn!! praying for your book to pour forth to His great glory & joy.(Psalm 145:6&7

  9. libbylittle says:

    Hi, carolyn, I love your posts, I wait for them. Wondering if I could use the italics part in my next newsletter after this tour of universities, bible colleges in NZ where I am now……I am in that p,ace of just being told to ‘ fill the jars’. Of course I would credit hearing the heartbeat!!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Libby. You are such a wonderful example of me of someone who faithfully fills jars and is used by God so beautifully in the midst of your own weakness. Thank you for your obedience!
      Re my posts here, you’re most welcome to use whatever is helpful to you in whatever way you like.

  10. Jean Hawkins says:

    Amen! And again I say, Amen! I hear those lies, too, whenever I begin my artwork. This is so very helpful to “hear”! I will try to put it into practice. You are always “spot on” for me! And I cannot wait to read your book after hearing Jon and Katie telling a little about it! keep writing…keep filling those jars! Our hearts need the encouragement and reminders that Jesus pours out through you. Much love, Jean

    • Thanks for sharing that, Jean. I wonder if most of us who create hear the same lies? I’m so grateful Jesus still turns water into wine. . .
      May we all continue to experience Jesus setting us free to trust Him with the results! Love, Carolyn

  11. Julie Flemming says:

    Thank you for writing the column. Thank you for sharing your most inner thoughts and feelings. Others will realize they are not alone.

  12. brtnichn says:

    Just to help you combat those lies – I love your writing and relate often to your posts. I’m a young Christian in college, and I draw much inspiration and knowledge from your blog. Keep on keeping on! God loves you.

    • Thanks, Britni, for helping combat those lies. I guess we all need each other to help combat the lies we hear, don’t we? I’ve just browsed through your recent blog posts. Bless you—and may you experience God turning water into wine in your life as you continue to love Him above all, trust Him with your life, and do whatever He tells you.

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