Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you”.  The bearer asked, “Why? What are you ashamed of?”  The Pot replied, “For these past two years I am able to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you don’t get full value for your efforts”.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Apparently this is a well-known story that I just read for the first time in a devotional the other day. Tears came flooding to my eyes, "I am that pot" I thought to myself, thinking of all the times I have cried to God, apologizing for being too anxious, too fearful, too paralyzed to do anything and not giving Him the full value of what I should be. And then gently the water bearer replies, "haven't you noticed what I have done because of your flaw?" For all the times I thought I was too broken and fragile, how could I not have trusted that God could turn those weaknesses into beauty? That He couldn't use them to glorify Himself? Watch what I can do with you he probably wants to tell me. Do you know how many times I've spilled myself along my path? Spilled tears, spilled feelings, spilled emotions, and then sulked in the mess I'd made? Or the mess I thought I was? Maybe, just maybe, that mess was watering seeds that had been planted, that would grow into something beautiful I could share with someone else.  Like Leonard Cohen said, "Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

image via whimsical raindrop cottage

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