The bucket of dirty water

Once upon a time there lived a bucket of dirty water. His name was Bucky. He wanted to improve his image and status in the world so he tried to be as useful to society as possible. But after trying to be more loving and helpful to others, at the end of each day he realized he was still just a bucket of dirty water.

Bucky finally reached such a state of despair that he began praying to God. “Oh loving Creator of heaven and earth, please fill me with the pure living water of your divine wisdom.”

After one such prayer a beautiful angel appeared before him! “Wow, a real angel from heaven!” exclaimed Bucky.

“Your prayers are about to be answered,” she said. “But first I have to teach you something about spiritual growth that most people get wrong. You can’t just decide one day to be good.”

“Why not? I want to be a better bucket. What is wrong with that?” asked Bucky.

“Genuine goodness comes from the Lord God alone. But since you are already filled to the brim with dirty water there is no room for God’s goodness and living water to go,” stated the angel with heavenly conviction.

Seeing that the bucket was obviously confused, the wonderful angel continued her discourse. “You can’t just decide one day to be good without first making some fundamental inner changes.”

“What kind of changes?” asked the bummed out bucket.

“You must remove the old dirty water that you have been carrying around inside you so that God will know that you are serious about changing. Only then can God’s heavenly influence pour in,” was her answer.

The bucket pondered his situation for a while and began to make a shaking movement that caused his dirty water to slosh around. As he did this he feared that if he got rid of all his dirty water he would become empty of all life and self-pride. “This is going to be hard to do,” said the embattled bucket. Then Bucky found inner strength and tipped himself over, spilling out all the dirty and yucky water he had been carrying around for so many years.

But before Bucky could feel empty and sorry for himself, a new, purer source of water fell from heaven and filled his inner life so completely that it even began to spill over. Bucky began to experience a new kind of happiness that he never imagined was possible.

“Now you are ready to do real good in the world with greater inner sincerity, humility and innocence,” remarked the heavenly messenger. “True goodness only exists in innocence, so as long as you held onto your dirty water, innocence was impossible. This is why the Lord said to clean the ‘inside of the cup.’ What is good for the cup is good for the bucket!”

©2012 Staircase Press. All right reserved.


About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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8 Responses to The bucket of dirty water

  1. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kate says:

    Love it!! Love it! Love it! Thank-you!

  3. swword says:

    Dear GoodGuy, I enjoy your posts. Thank you!

    Question: Swedenborg said that the Grand Man was made of many different societies of angels, some forming the eyes, ears, lungs, etc. Do you know if Swedenborg ever indicated which society he was ultimately to be a part of in the Grand Man? Thanks.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear swword,

      I am not aware of Swedenborg giving out that information. However, I am sure that when you pass from this world into the next you will be able to find out.

      Spiritually yours,

      • swword says:

        OK, Thank you for the response.

        Yes, I feel sure Swedenborg will be “seen” then, if not before then. 🙂


  4. thegodguy says:

    Blessings to you!

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