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The Potter, the Pitcher, and Purpose

A potter created a pitcher, formed it lovingly and perfectly. He smiled as he looked it over, running his fingers over the smooth basin and admiring his handiwork. In fact, every time he thought about it he smiled in approval.

The potter saw one day that some dust and dirt was on the inside of the pitcher. Mold had grown around it. The pitcher was so conscious of this stain that it wanted to recoil from its maker.

Unworried, the potter tenderly and precisely wiped out the inside of the pitcher then transferred it to the sink of warm water and soap already prepared. The pitcher was scared–vulnerable and filled with anxiety. It never did see the smile on the potter’s face and once it became submerged, the pitcher thought it was the end.

“How can I come back from this?” the pitcher thought. Confusion and terror gripped it once again. It bobbed in and out of the water several times until finally the potter took it out. He took a towel and carefully wiped the pitcher. So overwhelmed with joy, he laughed as he saw the stain was completely removed.

The potter was ready and eager to use his pitcher. He knew how meticulously he had formed it. The shape, the curves, everything was intentional. Every detail was accounted for. The stain he had found was now completely removed.

The pitcher became afraid again as the potter carried it to the faucet to get filled up. Finally, it couldn’t be quiet any longer and cried out to the potter, “I can’t do this!”

“You can’t do what?” asked the potter.

“I can’t hold any water. What if I’m not strong enough? I was stained. What if I don’t do it right? What if I mess up what you give me? What if…”

The potter laughed lovingly. “I created you for this purpose, and no stain could undo that. You’re perfectly clean–so much so that it’s as if the stain was never there. Not only will you hold what I give you perfectly, but I’ve also made you to pour it back out as well.”

“but…”

“You’re going to have to trust me. I made you so I know you most intimately. I am a master potter and I have no doubt you will do what I created you to do.”

The potter filled the pitcher. It braced itself as the cool water rushed down its sides and slowly filled the inside. It checked itself for leaks, but none ever showed. There were no cracks. The pitcher was strong enough to fulfill its purpose. All trepidation melted away as the potter turned and poured out the water–as pure and clean as it was when it had entered.

Suddenly, the pitcher felt wave after wave of gratitude for its maker.

It no longer focused on itself, the other items on the table, or even the potter’s guests–it simply couldn’t. That pitcher was relaxed and transfixed on the loving smile of approval spread on the face of the potter.


Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray is hosting a blog-and-comment discussion of “keeping faith fresh.” This week’s discussion is on discovering God’s purpose for each of us.

37 Comments

  1. Beautiful!

    One thought as I read this: Not only does the Potter maintain the Vessel, but the Vessels purpose is only fulfilled when held in the Potter’s hand.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Thoughts on Being the Bride of ChristMy Profile

    • And that’s an awesome thought. Made by the potter for the potter… Excellent! Thank you Dusty.

    • Dusty’s comment nailed it.
      Michael recently posted..Knock Me OverMy Profile

      • Thanks Michael (and Dusty again). :)

    • As I was reading, my thinking was almost exactly as Dusty verbalized -- excellent parable Jason.
      herbhalstead recently posted..ourvoiceMy Profile

      • Cool. Thanks Herb.

  2. Incredible.. and something we need to read and know and BELIEVE again and again. Thank you for this Jason!
    HisFireFly recently posted..On- In and Around Mondays -- RestMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Karin.

  3. I’ve been called a “cracked pot” more than once in my life but this post is so cool. We are designed for a purpose and we can trust the potter’s hand in it all!
    Thanks Dude!

    • Amen and amen. Thank you Jay!

  4. Solid stuff brother!

    • Thank you! Blessings…

  5. JASON! YOU NEED TO WRITE THESE MORE OFTEN. YES, I’M YELLING AT YOU! This was beautiful. Now write another one.
    katdish recently posted..IronyMy Profile

    • I didn’t technically plan on writing this one, but it just fell out. Thanks Kat. I will take your yelling under advisement. :)

      • Agreed! Don’t kid yourself that you aren’t a writer. This was wonderful!

        “Not only will you hold what I give you perfectly, but I’ve also made you to pour it back out as well.”

        I want to be used by God. I want to fulfill His plan for me.

        Thanks for pouring some of your refreshing, faith-filled water onto my head today.

  6. Profoundly beautiful post.
    Helen recently posted..The Third Great Commandment- Chapter 5 of The Hole in Our GospelMy Profile

    • Thank you so much, Helen!

  7. This was beautiful! And so true. If we just focus on our potter His purpose will become clear. Thank you for sharing!
    Amy Nabors recently posted..My Purpose Right here Right nowMy Profile

    • We have to trust Him! We were definitely created with a purpose, but He’s the one who brings the ultimate fulfillment. Thanks Amy!

  8. Great thoughts Jason! A very important reminder that I need to hear often!
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Life RiskMy Profile

    • Thank you, Kevin. Me too.

  9. Jason,
    I love this parable because it hits home. I’m too often like the pitcher, whining and complaining that I’m not made for this, but who am I to question the potter?

    “I made you so I know you most intimately. I am a master potter and I have no doubt you will do what I created you to do.”

    Excellent commentary. I pray I will remember it when I begin to doubt myself and my purpose.

    • Thank you Lisa. We all need reminders of how we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

  10. This made me think of a book of Max Lucado. He could have written this. Amazing and so beautiful. Thanks.

    • Wow, I can definitely take that as a compliment. Thank you, Ani.

  11. I know I want to experience my Potter’s smile.
    Bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Mission-ImPossibleMy Profile

    • It’s there! What joy in experiencing it. Thanks Bill.

  12. “Once it was submerged, the pitcher thought it was the end..”

    Oh, the drama!! That is me! :) LOL. Love this, love this!

    John 15 immediately popped up throughout the reading of this post. His words wash us clean, we can abide in Him and He in us — and we then, can bear fruit! ..

    I think I will use this as an illustration when I will be speaking on John 15 very soon!

    Thanks for adding this awesome allegory to the jam! Very creative, Jason!
    Faith Barista Bonnie recently posted..Why God-Sized Dreams Embrace Awkwardness &amp Joy Faith Barista JamMy Profile

    • Thank you Bonnie! I appreciate getting to be a part and reading yours and so many other great posts. :)

  13. “Relax and transfixed”

    I want to stay in that place always!

    • I can’t see anything wrong with that! Thanks Tony.

  14. Great story Jason! Who knew I could identify with a pitcher? :)
    Melissa Brotherton recently posted..What are you waiting forMy Profile

    • Life is full of surprises, isn’t it? :)

      Thanks Melissa.

  15. This is very cool and a new approach for you, yes? I like it. And today I just read Isaiah 29, which talks about the potter and the clay, and about who made whom, and for what purpose: “Can the pot say to the potter, ‘He knows nothing?’” Like I wrote about earlier this week, I often hide my true, flawed self from God…which is silly, since He made me, and knows my thoughts inside and out.

    Good stuff here, Jason.
    Michelle DeRusha recently posted..Rush HourMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Michelle!