Maybe we all ask ourselves the fundamental question, “Can the blessings of eternity be mine?” Can I qualify for the Celestial Kingdom? Will I try hard and still fall short? With all my shortcomings and mistakes, can I make it? And can I begin to access some of those blessings during my journey here on earth?
Jesus offers a clear answer to the question. “All the blessings of eternity are yours—if you accept them.”
Think of the Samaritan woman who ran into Jesus at the well. She was an outcast in her community because she had repeatedly failed at relationships and was cohabiting at the time. She was by every standard of the time, undeserving of goodness. But Jesus made her the same offer that He makes all of us. “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
In other words, we have every opportunity for ultimate success. The only question is whether we will drink of the water He offers. Will we slump away from our encounters with Him because we don’t really believe that His water will transform us? Or maybe we sip at a thimble-full of water—enough to stave off death but not enough to sustain flourishing. Yet He invites us to bring a bucket, a barrel, a truck to the springs of living water. He stands with arms outstretched offering us eternal life!
I suppose there are two keys to receiving His gift: getting to where He is and accepting His gift.
For example, we get where He is when we worship Him, seek His counsel, and serve His children. But it isn’t enough to meet Him there; we must come with our pots ready to be filled.
Do we go to church merely to punch the clock? Do we spend our time in the pews on social media wishing the church provided better wifi? Do we grumble about the hypocrites around us? Do we judge the value of our church experience by the quality of the speakers or our social encounters? There are better ways.
When I go to church, I come thirsty, expecting to be filled by the water only Jesus can offer. I come to worship Him and encounter Him. I come yearning for the gifts He is willing to extend to me. But I don’t go passively; I go prepared.
I come ready to be inspired by sacred music. I actively seek for personal messages and insights during the meetings. I take notes on thoughts and feelings I receive. I take my printed and annotated copy of the sacrament prayers along with my favorite artistic representations of the Father and the Son to the sacramental encounter. I study the words carefully and am often moved to tears by His invitation to come boldly to His throne of grace. I go to meetings planning to express love and appreciation to the people God puts in my path. I seek opportunities to connect with Jesus—sometimes I will even picture Him seated next to me. And every week I come away uplifted and enriched. A speaker may disappoint, a hymn may not be a favorite, we may feel snubbed, but we know that Jesus will meet us at the well and will fill our pots.
Getting to where He is does not only occur at church. When I look for His presence in my life throughout the rest of the week, I find myself meeting Him in many places. There are also many times when I bump into Him unexpectedly. Maybe I am going about my day and a beautiful thought lands in my mind. Maybe I am studying the scriptures trying to understand His heart and I am filled with gratitude for Him. Maybe I run into a friend and feel directed to offer words of love and appreciation. Maybe I see Him in events that seem orchestrated to bless me.
You never know when you will run into Jesus. But you know that, when you do, you can be richer for the encounter.
We can readily see that we must go to Him and that we must bring a life willing to receive Him. Maybe we don’t think enough about the other side of the transaction. Do we also consider what He brings? As He sits at Jacob’s well, we suspect that He has enough water. Do we realize that His well is inexhaustible? He made an infinite and eternal sacrifice so that He could wash and fill all the children of God? And there is nothing He loves more than filling us even when we come, as the Samaritan woman, dragging a sordid life. He loves to renew and refresh us.
Consider the graciousness of His offer:“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). He comes to us with a firehose. We should come with at least a bucket.
We get some idea of His graciousness when He describes the way He will present us to Father. He does NOT shake is head as He drags us to the judgment bar. He does NOT say, “Well, Father, I hope there’s enough grace left to keep this sorry soul out of torment.” No! He tells us in Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5 that He will approach Father and present Himself in our place. He even tells us the words He will use: “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”
Wow! He knows that reminding Father of His sacrifice will pierce to God’s heart. He presents His merits to save our souls. And what did we do to qualify for His immeasurable gift? We “believed on [His] name”! Never has there been such grace and goodness offered to the unworthy!
So, we should always carry a bucket. We should always be ready. We should do the things that make it most likely to run into Him. Whatever we bring to Him He will fill to overflowing!
Come. Let’s go to Him with buckets in hand.
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Thanks to Barbara Keil for her helpful additions to this article.