The Cracked Pot

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rice field life - asiaCenturies ago in India there was a water bearer tasked with bringing two large pots of water to his master’s house each day from a nearby stream. Visiting a local market he carefully picked out two pots and hung them from either side of a pole that he carried on his back. He spoke to the pots and encouraged them to do their best possible job, then headed off to the stream to fetch the water.

On the way back to his master’s house one of the pots did its job perfectly, arriving at the house full to the brim. The other pot, however, discovered that it had a crack on its side. Try as it might, it leaked all the way to the house, arriving only half full.

For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the whole pot was proud of its accomplishments, boasting often of how well it accomplished the end for which it was made. But the lowly cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection. Try as it might, the best it could ever do was deliver a half load of water. The poor pot was miserable that it was seemingly unable to do its job perfectly.

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.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half 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 have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and attempted to alleviate its concern. “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.

But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. 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 known about your flaw since I chose you, 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.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, if we try our best and persevere to the end, God will use us, flaws and all, to bless this world.

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