new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Message in a bottle

Apparently ‘spirit bottles’ are big business in Beijing these days. The Times reports that one store claimed to be selling more than 100 per day.

What on earth is a ‘spirit bottle’? Nothing more than an empty bottle with a label such as ‘Courage’, ‘Good Ideas’, ‘Unconditional Love’ or ‘Great Wisdom’. The sellers openly state that there is nothing but air in the bottle, yet people keep buying them.

One man browsing the shelf of bottles said, “If you are depressed and need to cry, or angry and need to vent, these spirit bottles give you the empty space you need. It is a concept that we really need right now.”

The biggest sellers in this are ‘Courage and change’ and ‘Sense of security’.

It strikes me as sad that in a nation mourning a massive loss of life this is their answer to trouble – buy an empty bottle and put all your troubles in it. Or buy an empty bottle and look to it for hope.

Then again, where do you look for hope when your country has effectively banned God? You can place your hope in human endeavour, but that doesn’t bring hope in the midst of disaster. It’s no surprise that the people of Beijing have nowhere to put their hope but in an empty bottle.

It would be easy to mock, yet we in Ireland have as many superstitions—whether they are in the old folk tales or in the new spiritualities that are doing the rounds. Bizarre empty bottles all of them.

To be fair, some would want to place biblical Christianity in the same category of wishful empty-bottle hoping.

The difference is that this bottle isn’t empty, and the proof lies ironically in something that was empty—the tomb. The resurrection of Jesus underscores the validity of Christianity.

How sad that men and women could be conned into placing their hopes in empty bottles of whatever unfounded superstitions or beliefs.

Ultimately there is no such thing as alternative spiritualities—just many empty bottles, and only one full one.

Imagine crawling into a shop from the desert—which bottle would you buy? One of the empties, or the one full of life giving water?

The only message of empty bottles is the emptiness of their hope. However, God in his rich mercy has given us a clear message from Heaven, not in a bottle, but in a person—Jesus Christ, who said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink… whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”