As a child I was surrounded by adults that were avid coffee drinkers; everyone seemed to enjoy the pungent, black beverage except me. I did like the smell, but I’ve never been able to appreciate the taste. Back then, when our family went to a restaurant for dinner I recall a phrase being used quite often to advertise the fact that coffee drinkers were very welcome. The words “Bottomless Cup of Coffee” appeared on window signs and in menus to entice people with the notion that the coffee flowed freely in this establishment.
Dad and mom would each drink cup after cup as the waitress kept the coffee hot and fresh. There were even groups of retired men, along with farmers and local businessmen, who would occupy the front tables while talking and drinking coffee for a couple of hours in the mornings. The process appeared rather simple; as cups were emptied, the friendly, tireless waitress would fill them up again – time after time – until each patron, having other things to do, would leave 50 cents on the table (a quarter for the coffee and a quarter for the waitress).
Times have changed – at least in the price for a cup of coffee – and even though most places still give “free refills” there are the specialty coffee shops where you must pay for each new cup. The basic requirement still remains intact though – you cannot fill what has not been emptied.
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for the world-changing work He was commissioning them to do, He instructed them to wait until they had been “filled” with the Holy Spirit before going into “all the world”. He had already told them of the nature and function of the Holy Spirit as He met with them during their last supper the night before His crucifixion, but now He needed them to have the real experience of God living in them in a way that could only be described as being “filled”.
Even as Jesus used the phrase “you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit”, He seemed to imply an “in” filling in contrast to the outward “getting wet” of water baptism. The disciples complied with prayer and fasting in an upper room as they waited for that “baptism” or “filling” with the Holy Spirit. Expecting, asking, waiting, seeking, knocking, repenting, yielding they patiently waited for the promise of Jesus to be fulfilled. They did all that because they understood the principle is the same, and that principle is just as true of spiritual matters as it is for coffee cups – you cannot fill what has not been emptied!
How exciting to be His people,
Pastor David Vanderpool