Parable of the Cracked Pot

There was a woman who lived out in the country, not far from where I grew up in North East Pennsylvania, she lived so far out in the country, that her home did not have electricity or running water. So, each morning, she would take up her yoke with a large pot hanging on both ends, and down to the spring she would walk to get her water for the day.

 One of the pots was seamless and always carried its full capacity of water back to the home. The other pot had a crack in it, and by the time they arrived home, it was only half full. This journey went on for several years, with the woman arriving home with only one and half post of water to her home each day. Now, of course anthropomorphism was alive and well there and in this story! So, the seamless pot was proud of its accomplishments, and would often taunt the cracked pot about its failure to deliver.

 And of course, the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and was miserable that is was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After years of what is perceived to be bitter failure, with a sad heart, one day, the cracked pot spoke to the woman as they stood on the edge of the stream: “I am so ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. I feel a failure. I let you down each day as you work so hard at your tasks.”

 The woman said to the pot, “Did you not notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That is because I have always known about your structure, and I planted flowers on your side of the path. Every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house, to make our house a home.”

 One moral of the story: each of us has our own unique structure and possibilities. We’re all cracked pots. But it is the cracks and idiosyncrasies we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. It is those very diversities that add spice and zest to life! we’ve just got to take each person for who they are and look for the good in them. To see the goodness in someone, to will and to act to make that goodness grow – that is love, that is the deepest respect for human dignity. We just need to be awake to the possibilities and the potentials.

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