Filling the other’s cup

By Paulo Coelho

During a dinner at the monastery of Sceta, the oldest priest rose to serve water to the others. He went from table to table with a certain difficulty, but none of the priests accepted.
     “We are not worthy of this saint’s sacrifice,” they thought.
     When the old man reached Abbot Little John’s table, he asked for his cup to be filled to the brim.
     The other monks look on in horror. When dinner was over, they scolded John:
     – How can you judge yourself worthy of being served by a holy man? Didn’t you see how hard it was for him to lift the pitcher? Didn’t you notice how his hands were shaking?
     – How can I stop goodness being manifested? – answered John. – You who find yourselves so perfect lack the humility of receiving, and deprive the poor man of the joy of giving.

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  1. austere says:

    This is beautiful.
    A reminder was needed.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Adina says:

    People today are too proud to receive a gift from somebody else. They perhaps don’t feel happy to receive a gift, as they know they can afforded by themselves. Or pehaps they are not used to be: LOVED.

  3. Mirjam says:

    It’s so true, without someone to recieve, you cant give.
    The one who recieves and the ono whou gives in reality are one.
    That also a form of respect for eachother. And respect is also a form of love.
    And love for me is all.



  4. Andreas says:

    doing good is the road to happiness, scientificly proved.

  5. THELMA says:

    Dear Savita Vega, I am very happy for you. May all my best whishes follow you to your new Path and I wish your dreams will be fulfilled for you and your daughter.

  6. orly says:

    giving is mmmany times way of recieving, by leting some one who offer to give , we shaw the respect to one and some people even when its hard on them and they feel like giving- its our way of shawing respect to them…
    in the bible they say and u should love ur friend the way u love yourself, and we have to learn and to know how to recieve when we r offered!!!!!

  7. sido says:

    j’aime donné et j’ai toujours aimé donné , c’est en moi et j’ai besoin de donner

    merci pour ceux qui ont reí§u de moi quand j’étais faible , quand j’étais malade , quand je n’allais pas bien , et et et aussi quand j’allais bien

    la dignité d’une personne est dans son íªtre , míªme si vous voyez l’extérieur d’un homme qui peut íªtre sale , affaibli , mal rasé ( il vit dehors , il n’a pas d’eau et de rasoir ! ! ) , ou tremblant de maladie ou de vieillese : dites vous que c’est un HOMME comme vous et moi , lui faire plaisir de faire plaisir , et c’est tout , c’est aussi simple

    ( SAVITA , tu as vécu près des gens ” qui n’ont rien ” … pourras tu nous dire la joie de leurs rencontres … etc… je souhaite faire un reportage ou … cela m’intéresse , et je sens ta sensibilité ( ” mission – robert de niro ) merci

    I love given and I always loved given, it ‘s in me and I need to give

    Thank you for those who received from me when I was weak, when I was sick, when I was not well, and and and also when I was well

    The dignity of a person is in his being, even if you see the outside of a man who can be dirty, weakened, badly shaved (he lives outside, he has no water and a razor!!), or trembling with disease or with vieillese: say you that it is a MAN as you and me, to please him to please, and it is everything, it is also simple

    SAVITA ,You lived near people ” who have nothing ” can you say to us the enjoyment of their meetings etc. I wish to make a report or it interest me, and I feel your sensibility (” mission – robert of niro) thank you

  8. oli says:

    a very beautiful story,thank u Paul. i will remind it to me every time i*m given sth,cos it*s so difficult for me to accept whatever someone else does for me,forgetting how good i feel giving.
    thanx u all

  9. Savita Vega says:

    Just today – only a couple of hours ago, as a matter of fact – someone sent me a text that read: “Ur good to me, savita. I hope im worthy.” This post so well expresses the way I feel: if he were to stop me from doing things for him simply because he feels “unworthy” to receive, he would be robbing me of the most immense joy – the pure pleasure of giving him pleasure, of making him happy in some small way.

    Sometimes when we care about another person, there is no greater gift that we can receive than just being given the opportunity to serve that person or do good for them.

  10. nathalie says:

    I rejoin totally Brad’s way of thinking and his second end of the story : accepting someone’s charity by being charitable, isn’t it the ultimate Love?

  11. T says:

    Sometimes trying to save somebody from work is not helping. What happens in men soul in moment of work for him is more important from physical pain.

  12. Sefer JAN says:

    Sometimes we think that we have humility, without even predicting that this thought is voice of our ego.

  13. Angel says:

    A beautiful lesson in humility. I was initially willing to be more charitable on the other monks, maybe they were trying to be thoughtful, you know, trying not to make the old saint work so hard, something like that. But it was the Abbot’s answer that wrapped it up for me. Thanks for the reminder that we must be humble in giving as well as in receiving.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

  14. Alexandra says:

    Yes,I think many has the same problem.People that scolded the chosen friar was evying him,cause they considered they were much more important that the chosen one.I can understand,in a way,sometimes I am hurt if my parents doesnt show me same interest as to my brothers,and in other occasion was me in the place of the humble friar,the chosen,when in university my proffessors were praisng me.Coleagues just die for envy,and strange enough,even those who were good.I think is important to give and is also important receiving.

  15. nato says:

    Que es peor… rechazar su esfuerzo y su sacrificio?
    O aceptarlo con igualdad, pero respetando las diferencias?

    Yo pienso que la segunda :)


    Which is worst? Reject his efforts and his sacrifice?
    Or accepting it with equality, but respecting the differences?

    I think the second one.

  16. Brad says:

    Interesting. First I’d read this beautiful story, and I saw a different end coming. Something like this:

    – How can you judge yourself worthy of being served by a holy man? Didn’t you see how hard it was for him to lift the pitcher? Didn’t you notice how his hands were shaking?
    – I saw his pain clearly. And I also saw him stopping to offer to us all. I thought I might make his burden just a bit lighter by accepting his kindness.

  17. THELMA says:

    ‘The humility of receiving’.
    It is the art of allowing others offer us from their To open ourselves to receiving. To forget our egoism and thought that we …do not need anything. Because, yes, we need others’ concern, affection and unconditional love. By … depriving others giving us we place our conscience at ease! We will not have to …. give back!! But love is born and flourish in an open heart, ready to give and receive.

  18. Bryan M. says:

    Just want to share how a lot of people has been affected by the book The Alchemist… ^_^

  19. Hernan Vilar says:

    True. Now, how can one differ the manifestation of Goodness giving from the egoic pathos that needs constant addressing? Where does human end and divine begins?