a: a container (such as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup, or bowl) for holding something
b: a person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused
I’ve had the word vessel in my head for several days now. At the moment, it brings to mind colorful glass bottles and beautiful vases holding fresh spring flowers. I see the vessel holding water to preserve the lilies on my kitchen counter. But I can also picture vessels within our bodies, allowing our blood to reach our fingers and toes and everything in between. Water and blood each preserve life. They are also symbols of the new life we have when we enter into relationship with Jesus.
Have you thought of yourself as a sacred vessel? You are so much more than perishable skin and bones. You were made to be a vessel containing life itself. Your fragile human heart was created to hold all the love in the universe.
I’m not exaggerating. The magnitude of this truth is nearly incomprehensible to our human minds. But God makes it possible. When his love enters, we are changed. We become indwelt by the source of life.
So maybe that all sounds nice — a little “too good to be true.” This truth may seem very far from your reality. And that’s okay. There’s no condemnation.
But perhaps you’re curious. Maybe you’d like to dip your toes into this living water and see if it’s real. But where to start? The first step is your willingness — a simple “Yes” to God.
By giving him access to our hearts, he can begin to clear out the rubble that is taking up precious space. What does this mean? It means you don’t have to have all the answers or have your messy self all straightened out before you can experience God. He does the moving, the fixing, and the cleaning if we let him.
The result of this process is a bigger and better vessel — one that doesn’t leak and isn’t filled with useless (or even toxic) garbage. And once he’s cleaned out the space, he fills it with a never-ending flow of his love, which is himself.
God has so much he wants to give each of his children. Good gifts from a good Father. But we can only receive to the extent that we are able to let go of all the things that take up space—anger, rage, unforgiveness, greed, lust, jealousy, bitterness, judgment, idolatry, deceit…
The One who created you wants your heart to be free from the pain these things cause. He wants to replace them with love, joy, and peace. Freedom comes with the understanding that we are truly loved.
But it can be hard to experience this love when our hearts are hardened by pain. And it is into this pain that we must invite God. He’s not afraid to go there with his gentle touch, and he never turns away. He will not abandon you in this process, and there isn’t an ounce of judgment in it. Only love.
This is how we grow in Christlikeness. It doesn’t come from striving, following a set of rules, or trying to be like Jesus. Such efforts always end in failure. Rather, becoming love—which is true Christlikeness—only happens when we allow God to do what he wants to do in our hearts.
A vessel cleansed and filled by love never runs dry, and there is always enough to share. What we carry sustains us but also gives life to others. It is the remedy for our ailing world.
As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:10
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
All you need to do is ask.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Shay Mason