The CrossRoads Journal

Cracked Pots Can Carry Living Water

We choose to be at peace as we seek to maintain a healthy focus on God, Self, and Others

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

There is a folklore story in India about The Cracked Pot which goes as follows: 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 one-half pots of water to his master’s house.

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.” “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 in his compassion, he said, “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 wildflowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it 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 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.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father’s table. In God’s great economy, nothing goes to waste. So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to tasks He has appointed for you, don’t be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.  We also see that this pot needed refilling daily, even the one without cracks.  In order to carry “Living Water”, we too must be refilled regularly.  And if left to the world’s ways, we will be refilled with that which can, in the end, destroy, rather than provide for joy, peace, and contentment in our daily circumstances.

Over the last few weeks, I have been observing what seems to irritate me even when I am well-intentioned.  I have found the following to be true for me.  When someone unexpectedly attacks me, I find that it can influence me for the rest of the day.  When I have been ‘caregiving’ for 8 hours or so on a regular day, I start getting irritable.  When I am giving intense caregiving, I get irritable in a few hours.  As many of us are a mixture of extrovert and introvert, I find that I need to be aware and manage my personal needs in order to better meet the needs of those I love and care about.  After being focused on others, I need to replenish my own well of love and strength in God.  God knows this and even taught us how to replenish.  He provides us with a Sabbath rest.  He taught us to focus on Him: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Daniel followed a structure of prayer throughout the day, even when forbidden.  He knew that it is important to keep his focus on God and who we are in relation to Him in order to have the strength for the daily battle of living in a strange land in a strange time.  And is this not how many of us feel in the midst of this battle with mental illness?

And so I am beginning after many years to become aware of my responsibility to be proactive in creating regular time with God to refocus and to have my cracked pot refilled.  This may be by taking a walk, listening to a good Christian program or sermon, reading the word, listening to uplifting music etc., just resting in quiet.   But I need to be responsible and proactive at turning to Him to be replenished for a graceful living approach no matter the circumstances.  As Zechariah 4:6 states:”Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of Hosts.”  Often this includes letting others know that I am in need of this quiet time for refilling, rather than just pulling away from them.

There is a saying that we must be careful that while slaying the dragon, we don’t become the dragon.  I know that is not what I want and yet find myself becoming a ‘dragon’ more often than a loving conduit for God’s Spirit.

Let’s take a few minutes to ask God how we might this week create the space to have our cracked pots filled regularly so we don’t run dry.