The Cracked Pot
A Traditional Story
A water-bearer used two large pots hung at each end of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, the other was perfect. The perfect pot always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long journey from the stream, while the cracked pot arrived only half full.
Daily the water-bearer only delivered one and a half pots of water to his master’s house. Naturally the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of the imperfection that made it leak half the load of water it was meant to deliver.
After two years of feeling a bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water-bearer by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the water-bearer, “What are you ashamed of?”
“For the past two years I have only been able to deliver half my load to the master’s house because of the crack in my side”, the pot said. “Because of my flaws you do not get the full value from your hard work.”
The water-bearer replied, “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 along the side of the path and felt cheered by the sight. But at the end of the trail, it again began to feel ashamed, as it had leaked half the water and again apologized to the water-bearer for its failure.
The water-bearer replied to the pot saying, “Did you 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 flaw and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, so every day as we have walked back from the stream, you have watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without your flaw, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.”
Not a single soul
lacks a pathway to you.
There’s no stone,
no flower –
not a single piece of straw –
lacking your existence.
In every particle of the world,
the moon of your love
causes the heart
of each atom to glow
Muhammad Shirin Maghribi, quoted in Love’s Alchemy