Teaching from a Reservoir

Roosevelt dam

Roosevelt dam

…Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

In the early fall of 2000, John & I were blessed by a visit from Dr Marvin Mayer and his wife Shirley. Dr. Mayer had just retired from many years of teaching Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  John & I were students at MBI in the 1970′s.  Dr. Mayer fast became one of my favorite professors and “spiritual father,” with a continuing relationship over the years.

Dr & Mrs marvin Mayer

Dr & Mrs marvin Mayer

On this particular visit, I got up early so I could walk with Dr M in the morning before he and Shirley left to return home to Illinois.  As we walked and talked, he spoke of his years of teaching and made a statement that grabbed my attention:  “I teach from a reservoir.” I knew what he meant in the context of our conversation.  He taught his theology and Bible classes from a plethora of Scriptural knowledge and doctrine as a result of years of study and teaching.

But as I continued to reflect on this statement in the following days, I realized that the reservoir that Dr Mayer taught from was not just that of Bible truth, but rather truth in relationship with Him who is Truth Himself. I recalled Dr M’s classes and the prayers he prayed and the hymns he sang, while we joined in.   His passion for the God he taught about was so evident to us students.

A few years later in the midst of a conversation with my daughter about motherhood, the Lord brought to mind a verse that was for me an obscure one.  This verse beautifully illustrates the exact point about teaching from the reservoir of truth in relationship with Him who is Truth.

He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure thingsnew and old.” Matthew 13:52 NASB

The scribes were the teachers/experts in Scripture truth, who may or may not have had a personal relationship with the God about whom they taught.  But in this verse, Jesus says that if a person knows the Scriptures well AND becomes His disciple (which means being attached to Him the Teacher, not just His teaching), he will have a reservoir or treasure[same Greek word] from which to draw in teaching and ministering to others — new truth added in with known (old) truth, whatever is needed at the time. And all in relationship with Him who is the Truth.

It’s kind of like my kitchen cabinet.  Because I have that treasure/reservoir of pottery, I can go in there and pull out some of my new Polish pottery and arrange it on the table to make a beautiful setting with an old blue and white pitcher.

What about YOU, dear teacher/ home school mom? What is the reservoir YOU are drawing from?

Is it your slick methodology, your fancy hi-tech curriculum, your astounding expertise?  All of those may be wonderful, but ONLY if you are a disciple of the MASTER TEACHER Himself, submitting to Him and His Word.  Then you will be teaching from the vast reservoir of truth found in relationship with Him who is the Truth!

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2Cor 3:4-6

…God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge….For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him…  Col 2:2b-3,9-10

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2Tim 3:16-17


More to come in the next post Living from a Reservoir.

For further study look at Luke 6:39-49.  List everything the Holy Spirit “highlights to your heart” about teaching and being a “learner” (disciple).

The above post is based on chapter 7 of my book, The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension (click on the link for more information and ordering, endorsements, KIRKUS review, study/leader's guide etc.)