Let me begin by saying, I love iced-tea. It’s cold, refreshing, flavorful and can be made with a myriad of different kinds of teas. There is however, one draw back to this beverage, and that is the “iced” part of the equation. I think for me, the world would be a better place if establishments like Starbucks served chilled-tea, rather than iced-tea. The ice is a nuisance to me. It takes up space in my cup and dilutes the flavor of the tea. Now considering that most establishments charge $2 for a large cup of this beverage, there can be no margin for loss or waste.
I was thinking about all of this a couple of days ago, as I made myself a glass of iced-tea. As I poured the small cup of hot tea into my large glass filled with ice, I was reminded of Mr. Smith’s 7th grade science class. It was here that I first learned about water displacement and the story of Archimedes. Archimedes was ordered by King Hiero of Syracuse, in the third century, B.C., to find a way to determine the volume of his crown, supposedly made from a single bar of gold. Apparently, after struggling with how to do this for some time, the idea came to him one night as he got into a bathtub that was filled with water. Archimedes noticed that water would overflow the sides of the tub in proportion to how much of his body was submerged in the water, and thus the method of water displacement as a means of measuring volume was realized.
Thinking of all this eventually led me to begin to think about the Holy Spirit, specifically water, one of the many symbols of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible. Kevin Connor, former teaching pastor of City Bible Church in Portland, Oregon, writes this on the subject, “The Holy Spirit symbolized as water, often speaks of the life-giving flow which refreshes and satisfies. It also speaks of the washing, cleansing, and fruitfulness associated with the new life in Christ.” So, what does this all have to do with iced-tea, or water displacement?
The Bible in several passages refers to the believer as a “vessel.” I like to think of he or she as a tall glass, which is much easier for me to picture it in my mind. God, in His endless love for us, faithfully fills our glass to overflowing, with the cleansing, refreshing, life-giving water of His Holy Spirit. What’s great about this is that God teaches us how to take that water and pour ourselves out for others. I think if there was a literal set of keys to the Kingdom of God, one would be labeled “humility” It takes humility to pour yourself out for another. It takes humility to love sacrificially, as Jesus did. It takes humility to posture yourself before the King of kings and ask Him to refill your cup.
As a believer, I experience firsthand the dangers and diversions that lie at each turn in my journey toward God. I guess in a way, our lives can sometimes become like a glass of iced-tea with too much ice. God is potent, powerful … and there’s a certain strength found in our message, our passion and purpose, that is never meant to be diluted. There’s also strength to be found in being full of God’s Spirit, being a conduit for the flowing of His love, a flow that was never meant to be displaced or interrupted. I never set out to be distracted, but I all too often find myself in that state. It seems at times that I invite obstacles into my life with the naiveté of a young deer, crossing the road at night. I know that I’m not alone. I know that as a fallen people, it is our tendency to fill our lives with the things we deem, good. We are on a regular basis, naïve to the consequences of displacing God’s Spirit in our lives, until it’s too late, damage is done, costly repair is necessary.
I’m thankful that we serve a God of inexhaustible mercy and grace. I’m thankful for always having the opportunity to pick myself up and continue trudging forward. As I ponder these ideas, I’m going to make and enjoy a tall glass of iced-tea, I hope you’ll do the same.