Prime the Pump

hand water pumpAlthough my grandparents in Georgia had indoor plumbing, they also had an outdoor hand pump on the back porch. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D. C., that pump fascinated me. If you are unfamiliar with the way a hand pump works, you have to prime the pump first.

To do that, you pour a glassful of water into the pump. If not, it won’t matter how much you pump the handle, you won’t produce a drop of water from the well. Once the water starts to flow, you need to keep pumping the pump handle until you have all the water you want.

But one thing to remember, make sure you fill a glass with water for the next time before you quit pumping. That is extremely important. You can’t pump water if you don’t have that water to get it started.

By now you may be wondering where I’m going with this, so I’ll tell you.


In 1 John, John goes a little bit around in a circle to tell us as children of God, we must love one another, because God is love, and love comes from God. Sort of like the water in a hand pump. We can ask God to help us love others, but it isn’t until we make the effort to love that it will be accomplished. We have to use our glass of love that came from God’s well and prime the pump with it, so God’s love will flow through us to others.

God takes that little glass of love we reserved from the love he gives, and brings up love from his never-ending well for us to give to others. Before you know it, the love is pouring freely.

We could stand at that pump all day long, pumping our little hearts out, but unless we prime the pump first, experience the love of the Father, we won’t draw anything from our well.

If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. That’s what John tells us.

As a child on my grandparent’s back porch, to my small arms, getting that water started was quite the chore. Sometimes, an older relative stepped in to help get the water flowing.

Sometimes, as a child of God, it is difficult to prime the pump to get the flow of love started. Especially when God calls us to love those who have hurt us, those co-workers or neighbors who drive us absolutely crazy, those who don’t share our religious belief, those who don’t share our values-political or otherwise. It can be difficult.

That’s when we call on the God who is love. The God who loved us first. The God who demonstrated his love for us the day he allowed his precious son to die in our place.

So, my friends, we may never have the opportunity to prime a hand pump to draw water, but since God so loved us, we do have the opportunity to prime the pump of his love and draw from his deep well. But when we do, it’s important to remember, you can’t pump water, or love, if you don’t have a glassful in the first place.

It’s a circle. God is love. Love comes from God. Since God loved us, we are to love others. If we love others, God lives in us, and his love is brought to fullness in us.

Have you ever primed a pump to draw water? If so, did you do it because you wanted to, or because you had to?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 1 John 4:7-10 (GNT)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Prime the Pump

  1. I learned something new about hand pumps WOW…funny on tv shows or movies that important step is never shown when there is a scene using a hand pump lol. Loved the comparison of that to love.


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