If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal. A canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus without loss to itself [it shares] its superabundant water. (Bernard of Clairvaux)
A beautiful picture. The canal runs dry so quickly, shortly after the rains subside. Like a dry streambed in the desert. But a reservoir is a vast and deep reserve of life. We are called to live in a way that we store up reserves in our heart, and then offer from a place of abundance. As Jesus said, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Matt 13:52). I'm thinking, Storeroom? What storeroom? "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…for out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45 emphasis added).
I'm afraid I live spiritually like I live financially—I get a little, and go spend it. I live like a canal. I look like a reservoir when the rains come, but shortly after, I'm dried up again. (My financially responsible readers have just congratulated themselves on living a more disciplined life. But may I ask, are you using those reserves to do things that nourish your heart? Many a Scrooge has filled his coffers while starving his soul). "There are very many canals in the church today," laments Julia Gatta, "but few reservoirs." One woman deeply involved in ministry wrote to me recently that she is "burned out to a crackling crunch." She has been a canal. She hasn't cared for her heart. She is not alone.