Daily Riches: Trying to Give Water From an Empty Well (Parker Palmer and Pete Scazzero) *

“When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as a result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess – the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” Parker Palmer

“Remaining in loving union with Jesus is a matter of life and death for us as well as for everyone who looks to us for nourishment.” Peter Scazzero

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jeremiah 2:13

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever felt burned out? Looking back, to you have insight now into what happened? Were you “giving something you did not possess?”
  • Do you see “nourishing your soul” as a matter of life and death for you? Do you see how failing do to so can make you “dangerous?”
  • Is busyness, drivenness, exhaustion or a dangerous sense of self-sufficiency keeping you from nourishing your soul?
  • You you have a specific plan to cultivate loving union with God, “the spring of living water?” If not, where could you begin?

Abba, when I come to the end of my rope – when my well is empty  – when I’m running on fumes – when my experience of you is tired or second-hand … may I remember then to address the “nothingness” in my inner life before I attempt to do anything else.  And may I remember my need even when it seems like I’m doing fine.


For More: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer


“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.”  (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

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