Isaiah 64:1-3, 7-9
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.
“We are but cracked pots.” That’s a very loose interpretation of Paul’s statement to the church in Corinth. We are but cracked pots, made by the Potter’s hand. How easy it is to forget that we are the pots. We are not the potter—we do not create ourselves from nothing. We are not the contents—we are not the precious gospel meant to be spread around. We are the pots—fragile containers meant to carry the gospel into the world, often cracked open and spilling our contents all over the places we did not intend. But that’s why God made us the way we are—cracked pots.
The parable goes that a woman had two large pots, and she trudged to the well each day to get water with one pot hung on each end of a pole which the woman carried across the back of her neck and shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. By the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full, which caused the woman to struggle under the unbalanced weight of the pots.
Every day, the woman complained about the cracked pot as she filled it, knowing it would not hold all the water she placed in it. She complained about the potter who made it, blaming him for not making it more durable. She complained about her husband, who insisted there was not enough money to replace it. She complained as she trudged back to her house with the unbalanced load, and as she emptied the water into the barrel at home, she complained that she did not have more.
For a full two years this went on daily with the woman ending up with only one and a half pots full of water to use at home.
One day, the woman wept as she turned from the well to return home, noticing the stream already falling from the cracked pot. As she trudged along the path with her head hung in weariness, she noticed one side of the path was bursting with the colors of budding flowers. The beauty of the flowers was stark against the otherwise parched land. She hadn’t noticed the flowers until today, perhaps because she had been so focused on complaining about her cracked pot.
As she walked the path lined on one side with flowers, she realized the flowers were being nourished by the small stream of water running from her cracked pot. That day, when she returned home and emptied the half-filled cracked pot, she smiled, knowing where the remaining water had been left along the path and the purpose it had fulfilled as she walked home.
God is our Potter, and we are but cracked pots, sometimes freely and sometimes unwillingly sharing the beautiful gospel of life and hope to a broken and hurting world. God is not ashamed of God’s work in us. We were never made to contain the good news of Jesus Christ—merely to carry it to its destination.
Pastor Tobi White
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church