Beauty in the Broken Vessel


What appears to be a waste to some, is an exquisite surrender to God. Connect with a metaphor that reveals the beauty God discovers in our flaws.

Mark 14:1-11

There’s a story of a water bearer who, every day for years, carried two large pots on a pole across his neck. Now, because one of the pots had a crack in it, the long walk from the stream left it only half full. This went on for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, flawlessly fulfilling its course in life. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been created to do. After two years of what felt like bitter failure, the cracked pot finally spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

Timidly, it confessed, "I’m ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "What are you ashamed of?" asked the man. "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 still don't get full value from your efforts." The water bearer, feeling sorry for the old pot, picked it up and slowly carried it back up the hill to the house.

As he did, he said to his friend, do you see all of the beautiful flowers along the side of the path? Do you notice that these flowers are only on your side, not on the other pots side? That's because I've 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've been able to pick these beautiful flowers and decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." A broken vessel. Often times, that's the best kind of all.

We don't get very far in our reading before finding another imperfect vessel poured out for the Master.  Let's pick up the story at verse 3.

Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume. She broke the seal and poured the perfume over His head.

Mark 14:3

A woman came into the meal, broke the seal of her treasured possession, and poured out its contents – not in waste, but as an act of devotion to her Lord. While others saw the broken vessel, Jesus saw the act of releasing its contents. And what appeared to be a foolish waste to some was actually exquisite surrender to God. 

Many times we think that if we believe in God, we will have everything we need. But what our friend so beautifully showed us was if we are totally surrendered to Jesus, we will allow everything He gives to freely flow through us.

May we all be such imperfect and broken vessels.

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