281. There are defeats more triumphant than victories. ~Michel de Montaigne

I found this image on the internet, and I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated with it, but I am.  Perhaps it’s because the rose, though now damaged, remains exquisite in color and form or because the spraying bits of freeze-dried petals create a stunning scene.  Or maybe I’m intrigued by the photo because it somehow reassures me that human brokenness touched by God’s grace can produce valuable and worthwhile fruit.  Whatever the case may be, all this pondering about the fragmented rose triggered the memory of the profound story below the photo.


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 a half pots full of water in his master’s house.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, 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 for 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 wild flowers 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 the 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.”  ~Author Unknown

Every human “pot” becomes “cracked” in some way, but that does not render the flawed man or woman ugly or useless.  The Creation story in Genesis tells us that each day God looked back at what He had made and saw that it was good.  So, although we humans are imperfect, we started from a place of goodness that is still in us.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.  ~Psalm 25:7  ✝