Are You God’s Compassionate Watering Can?

U Show Me Tender Compassion 198 DPI

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. “ Psalm 111:4 (NKJV)

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart. I paced about as though he were my friend or brother; I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother. “ Psalm 35:13-14 (NKJV)

Compassion is having a sense of concern over another person’s need or pain. It includes pity, sympathy, and empathy. Our Lord Jesus was, and will always be, full of compassion. Psalm 111:4 states that He was gracious and full of compassion.

When I think of the word ‘full’, the image of a watering can comes to my mind.  It has been filled to the brim with fresh rainwater. Eagerly, it waits for the gardener’s hand, anxious to help provide drinks to thirsty and needy plants.

After Lazarus died, Jesus went to visit his tomb. Upon arriving, he spoke with the dead man’s sisters, Mary and Martha. He felt their pain and was filled with compassion over their grief. John 11:35 writes that Jesus wept.  Our Savior was well acquainted with grief.

Back then, professional mourners were often hired to wail and make public displays of grief. Unlike today (and in our culture), people were given freedom to loudly voice their sorrow and were not hushed into silence, or expected to carry on stoically. Friends and neighbors would wear sackcloth and rip their clothes as a sign of compassion, sharing in the grief.

In Hebrews 5:2, we learn what calls for compassion and why we should offer it to others. “He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.” You see we all have weak areas that cause us to struggle and stumble. None of are above the affects of temptation or sin.

Therefore, we are not to judge those who are wrestling with their demons.  Rather, we need to remember our own frailty and help our brothers and sisters by spurring them on to victory.  A heart full of compassion and encouragement can do much good.

Another time to share our compassion is when illness strikes.  There are so many cases of chronic pain, depression, cancer, and debilitating conditions. Illness befalls the young and the old and has no favorites.  It is relentless and has a reach beyond measure.

Having faced the trauma of a brain tumor, I know first hand the importance of having loved ones nearby to spur me on to recovery. When I was overwhelmed, kind words of compassion, small thoughtful gifts, loving hugs, and hand written cards were often the boost I needed to take another step forward in my healing.

Today let me encourage you to sharpen your love for others by developing a deeper sense of compassion.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (NKJV)

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. “ Luke 10:33 (NKJV)

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4 (NKJV)


  1. This is another great post Cheryl. I have so much to say about this because it is vital to faith and living as a Christian. A lot of religion in the UK and the US appears to be the religion of the great and the good, the respectable folk with their affluent careers and nice lifestyles and suburban townhouses confirming their success by being church goers, if that makes sense? It can also be a social club as well, and a clique too. The Prosperity Gospel in the US and the established denominations in the UK like the Church of England seems to be far more about wealthy people and important people than it really is about Jesus and concern for others.

    The background I came from is essentially Working class, the neighbourhood type, where everyone knew everyone’s business and few had money or great ambitions, just living day to day. And few of us went to church, that seemed to be something for the more privileged classes. Yet, amongst poorer people in England there was always people to help out, and you needed a TV or couch or a pair of sneakers or so on, usually someone would pass them on to you. I don’t think Middle class people are like that generally. The story of the Good Samaritan comes to mind here, that often people with little religious impulses are more genuine than those who claim to be good and godly people, when they aren’t. Jesus recognises that decency and kindness and love are intrinsic to all humans and something we know is right; when we do good to others we know it is the right thing. When we do bad, or we are harsh or cruel, we know that it is wrong. And we know always that we ourselves would like to be treated kindly and fairly, so that is our benchmark. Of course, there are good people and bad people in all walks of life; wealth does not make a person bad, anymore than poverty makes someone good. That is plainly not true in both cases. But it’s certain that anyone who has suffered poverty or discrimination or who has been exploited in some way, will have more understanding about another person’s plight.

    I may add that only when we suffer can we truly have empathy with someone else. Reading about depression or wretched poverty is one thing, experiencing something like this is something else. However, when a person accepts Jesus into their hearts, regardless of their social position, economic position and whether they have suffered or not, He brings us to fuller knowledge of ourselves and with that fuller knowledge of the human condition and the nature of all people. And most importantly, His nature too.

    • Cheryl Zelenka says:

      Hello Tim,
      Thank you for your wonderful comment. Empathy does seem to be learned although we DO have that intrinsic measuring stick of right and wrong, goodness and evil.

      Regarding this quote…”Of course, there are good people and bad people in all walks of life; wealth does not make a person bad, anymore than poverty makes someone good. That is plainly not true in both cases. But it’s certain that anyone who has suffered poverty or discrimination or who has been exploited in some way, will have more understanding about another person’s plight.”

      I was raised by middle class parents who through an incredible work ethic and God’s blessings, became financially successful. I won’t call them rich, but they do own two houses that are paid for and yet, they have tithed and done charity work all their lives. God has children, as you said, in all classes. Heartache befalls folks in all races and classes. Yes, my parents became much more loving and compassionate after my brother died in a mountain climbing accident. Empathy was cultivated through their sorrow.

      Blessings to you, dear brother in the Lord.

  2. Hi Cheryl. I notice that many American bloggers tend to consider themselves Middle class, whereas many British bloggers tend to consider themselves Working class. But these terms are loaded in different ways in both countries. In America, it is more inclusive, in Britain it has always been often exclusive, the superior sort of person. Often in the UK till the 60s really, you did a job befitting your social status and you stayed in it. Nice for those who got good jobs, not so good for the rest of us.

    My dad was bright but wasn’t that educated and my mum is bright and reasonably well educated and I am bright and well educated but still struggle to make my mark. I am a writer like you and have all sorts of ideas for books, TV shows, documentaries and the like but find it hard to know how to get these published and break into those markets. However, that’s the same for most writers isn’t it?!

    Your parents sound lovely people and deserve all the success they worked for. I am sorry for your loss, especially in such awful and tragic circumstances. I still struggle with issues like that too. It is often indeed that when we suffer dreadfully in some way, and that suffering seems inexplicable, and we might even ask God ‘why did you allow that to happen when I am a Christian?’ that we see that other people do suffer as well. I’ve never really told anyone this before and it’s not a thing personal to me, but when I was kid, in Infant school, the headmaster often allowed all the kids to watch TV programs in the TV room, all the kids in the school perhaps at assembly, I am not sure as it was a long time ago now. But one story I remember to this day was in India, a woman whose ‘job’ was to sweep the dust from the front of a store for 12 hours a day 7 days a week, and she got about 5 pence a day, which was enough to buy a handful of uncooked rice to feed herself and her family each day. I will never forget her face, a mix of anger, bitterness, was there sadness and regret too? But I remember it to this day, and think now she is long dead and only remembered by her family. We are all wealthy compared to her I think. I still feel her pain when I think about it.

    • Cheryl Zelenka says:

      Hello Tim,
      Thank you for that memory of the lady sweeping steps in India, who made just enough to feed herself. We are truly blessed living in such “wealthy” and free countries. As a single woman, I have been allowed to get an advanced degree, teach, adopt and raise a son as a single parent, and live on my own…. outside of my parents home. Thank you for reminding me, and my readers, just how rich we are compared to the many others living in different countries. We are ALL free in Christ, but most of us reading this blog are well fed, and have shelters that are far nicer than the majority of the world’s people.