How Can I Exchange Emptiness For Fullness? Pt. 2

photo of statue: Jesus and woman at the well

Devotional insights on John 4:1-26


You know, it’s interesting that the simple everyday things of life are all types and shadows of spiritual realities. There is nothing that is any more true of this than the well and the water. So Jesus is bringing her to the place where she can realize that as long as the well is outside her, she’s going to have to go to the well to get the water to satisfy her thirst. And He said, “What would you think if you had the well inside? No more strain, no more water pots, no more buckets, no more walking back and forth.” I’d like to ask you a simple question, “What would you think if you had the well inside?” And I want to ask you something else, “What is Christianity but the well inside?”

Now most folk have lived so far from the well for years and years that they have completely put it out of their minds that it is possible to have a well inside. Oh sure, they’ve known the fullness of the Spirit. Yes, they’ve spoken tongues. Yes, they’ve moved in the gifts of the Spirit. But the trouble is, the well is always out there. Once in a while they get a touch from God. Once in a while! But they don’t know much about the well inside. God is always over there.

I’ve got to go over there to the meeting. So, I get to the meeting. I pray, “Lord be with us tonight in the meeting.” As long as I’m conscious that He’s up there and I’m down here, you see, the well is over there, and I’m over here. So I’ve got to go to the well.

Christians coming to the meetings all the time with their buckets: “Preacher, fill her up. I’ve got to have a good load. I’ve got some problems coming up this next week. I’ve got to have enough to carry me through till Sunday. Fill her up! I’ve got to have a touch from God! I’m so hungry, I’m so thirsty, I need something.”

Oh my! This point has hardly phased us. We can read it, and it is so familiar that most of us know it by memory. But it never has phased us. We quote it to our children, teach it to our children, and show them how to go to the well.

You know, the Christianity that we’re familiar with has become so far from the normal Christianity–so far from what the Bible suggests to us–that we don’t even realize the great difference there is. Show me some Christians that have the well inside, that know it; and I’ll tell you you’ll never hear them talking about how they need a touch from God. They are conscious of fullness.

I don’t mean they’re not weak, nor that they have no problems. Surely they have problems, but they know the well is inside [Col. 1:27]. They never try to go to a meeting so that they can touch God. They never try to go over there and meet this brother so he can help them out of difficulty. I don’t mean that is wrong. I simply mean that if we get into what God has for us, the well will be on the inside, and we’ll know it. Then we’ll see that what God is after is the expression of this well, not my crying out to God in travail.

Most of our meetings are conducted with a basic consciousness that we need God. Hardly any of our meetings are conducted with the consciousness that we are filled with God. Now then, when this is true, obviously, there can be no expression. There can be only taking in. So I’m taking it all the time.

The preacher stands in the pulpit and says, “I hope you folks came to get a blessing tonight.” That is the highest expression of Christianity that we can be conscious of, but it’s not an expression at all. It’s a cry. It’s a travail. It’s a reach-ing out. It’s trying to find the well.

You know something? It’s just so far from reality. Yet we’re so accustomed to it that all of our habits of prayer rotate around this center–my need, our need, his need, her need. We’ve come to the place where we feel that the person who is the most spiritual is the person who is conscious of his great need. Now this is not an expression of spirituality. This is an expression of Adam’s poverty. An expression of spirituality is an expression of the well within. Do you follow my reasoning?

If we follow on with what happens here, it will help us to find out what really happens here; it will help us to find out what really is supposed to happen. It’s time we quit going to the well. It’s time we drank and got the well inside. This same principle is brought out in John chapter 7, when Jesus stood on that great day of the feast and said, “If any man thirst, let him come Him—a well of water, a river of living water.” Ah, that’s wonderful! He didn’t say he’d get a good bucket full. He didn’t even say that you’ll find out where to get under the spout where the glory comes out. He said, “You’ll have the rivers inside.” Those artesian wells will be springing up inside. The only way you can keep an artesian well from flowing is to put a cap on it. You don’t have to pump it; it never has to be primed; it just flows.

The only way you can keep the Spirit of God from functioning in your life is to put the cap on it. The best way to put the cap on it [Him] is to keep crying out, “Oh, the need I have. Oh, I need God.”

Well now, who can say, I need God? Only two men! There’s Adam and Christ. Adam says, “I need God.” Christ says, “I’m expressing God.”

I don’t mean to bowl you over, but I would like to startle you enough to cause you to come to grips with the facts. I tell you frankly, my attitude on these things has been utterly transformed in recent months. As I have come to see in reality that the well is inside, the rivers of living water flow from within, not from without. I don’t have to go over there to get the rivers of living water. I just have to open up, to expose myself to God. Thus my whole ministry of praying, witnessing, and sharing is all to be an expression of the fullness of God within. I can’t share anything with anybody if I’m in such need, you see. If all I’m conscious of is my great need, what have I got to share? Just an empty hole. I can only say, “Fill her up.” And out of my empty hole I do my best to try to fill somebody else’s dry well. You see, this is not the expression of the church. This is an expression of Adamic creation. My, what’s the matter with us? How we have missed God’s desire!

Part 2 of 4. This is from the book, Designed to Express His Life. Italics added. For ordering information, please contact Grace Fellowship International: Orville is the older brother of popular author and radio teacher, Chuck Swindoll. Most of Orville’s missionary work and writing is in Spanish. His web site is