A water bearer had two clay water pots hanging on rope from a pole that he carried across his shoulders each day down to the well and then up to his master’s house a couple of times a day. One of the pots had a few cracks in it and so water dripped out with each step the old man took until that pot was only about half full by the time he reached the house.
Day by day he would carry the water this way and day by day arrive at the house having lost some of the water. A fellow servant pointed it out to him one morning, saying “Don’t you see that one of your pots is broken and is causing you extra work? It’s not of much use to you that way. You could bring more water to the house if you replaced it.”
The water bearer smiled and said, “Come with me.” He walked his friend down the path to the well and showed him that all along the sides of the path patches of colorful flowers had grown where the water dripped out every day. “If there were no cracks in my pot there wouldn’t be these beautiful flowers, which I take up to my master’s house for his table.” (adapted from an old folk tale)
The Bible compares us to clay pots, saying that although we are imperfect we are still God’s chosen vessel for His life and light; our flaws and imperfections allow that light and glory to shine out so others can see. Those cracks also help us remember that our life, strength and any goodness that shows from within us is from God. It’s a miracle we don’t burst into a million dusty bits considering the brilliant, immense, holy, mighty, awesome Spirit of God is living in and through us. Who are we to be allowed to carry such treasure??
I think of the words of the song “How He Loves” that say:
All of the sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory…¹
God’s love and power, when shining through our frail humanity, will become the focal point if we accept who we are and that God loves us just the way we are, if we trust Him.
Have you ever read about some of the Bible “heroes” and after reading their stories realize that they sure had their cracks and flaws, too? Some of them were deceitful, some were tricksters, cowards, braggarts, hotheads, and prone to make mistakes. God loved and used them for good anyway. His character and glory showed through their lives in spite of their not-so-great choices because ultimately they believed in Him and wanted to serve Him. God showed through the cracks in those clay pot heroes and created good along the way.
It’s okay to be a crackpot. It’s okay to have flaws and that’s a good thing because we all have them! Every single person does. Thankfully, our Master doesn’t throw away broken pots. You may never see the flowers that grow up along the path behind you where water has leaked through the cracks of your weaknesses and mistakes. You may never know the extent to which God brings good from your life, but be assured that He does bring good out of each day and moment of your life no matter what if you believe in Him, love Him, and live life surrendered to Him.
“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” II Corinthians 4:6-7 NLT
“…we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28 The Message
¹How He Loves by John Mark McMillan