Cracked Pots

I have not met a single person in my life who has their act together. Some are better than others at pretending that nothing is wrong with them, but everyone is broken in one way or another. I know that we often feel ashamed of our brokenness, thinking it is a bad—even terrible— thing, and try to hide it from others, so let me tell you a story from ancient Indian lore that might change your mind. 

A water carrier had two large pots: one perfect, the other with a little crack. He would carry water from the well to his employer’s house every day, and while the perfect pot never leaked, half the water spilled out from the other. The unbroken pot was very proud to be so perfect, while the cracked pot was very ashamed to be so broken. One day the broken pot realized something very profound. The side of the path that it was on was full of flowers, watered by whatever had spilled through it.

There is a powerful lesson contained here for all of us who are like the cracked pot (not to be confused with crackpots!). God can use us to bring life to the world through our brokenness. Yes, he tells us to be perfect. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus said (Matthew 5:48). However, attaining this perfection is a process that will only be completed with the return of Jesus. In the meantime, our imperfections—the cracks—serve a dual purpose.

One, the cracks let the light in. Consider the heart. A heart of stone is untouchable, unable to receive love or give it. However, if the heart is broken, it lets the light in and allows God to do his work. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalms 147:3). Or consider the spirit. As David said, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit,” before going on to say, “a broken and contrite heart you will not despise” (Psalms 51:17).

Two, the cracks let the light out. We can’t give what we don’t have. But when we receive love, mercy, and compassion from God because of our brokenness, we can extend these things to others who are broken. I would not be able to teach a fraction of what I can teach if I were not broken. I don’t have to depend on empathy to understand people’s pain. I have experienced much of it myself, so I can extend the comfort I have received from Christ to others (see 2 Corinthians 1:4).

So, are you a cracked pot, dear friend? That’s not a bad thing. Let God’s light shine through your brokenness.

May the Spirit be with you.

More in this category: « Breaking Out Patience, Please »