What You Alone Can Do

Blog Post #20


The Cracked Pot

A Traditional Fable From India

A saintly person in India was assigned the humble task of bringing water to the village temple everyday. He walked from the temple to the river and back again carrying a pole across his shoulders with a large pot balanced on each end.

One pot was perfect, always delivering a full portion of water at the end of the long walk. Fulfilling the purpose for which the pot was created gave a wonderful sense of accomplishment to the perfect pot. And the perfect pot was thrilled to be serving a higher cause by providing fresh water for the devotees worshiping at the temple.

The other pot had a crack in its side which meant that the pot was only partially full when it arrived at the temple. The cracked pot was ashamed of his imperfection, and upset that he was only able to accomplish a small amount of what he was striving to do.

One day by the river, after two years of enduring what it perceived to be a sad failure, the cracked pot found the courage to speak to the water-bearer: "I am ashamed of myself and want to apologize to you. Will you forgive me?"

The surprised water-bearer asked, “What are you ashamed of? What do you need forgiveness for?”

"I have only been able to deliver a portion of my water because it leaks out through the crack in my side on our way back to the temple. My flaw prevents you from gaining the full value of your daily service of bringing water to the temple. I can never succeed in serving God as well as others,“ the anguished pot declared.

Feeling a great deal of compassion for the cracked pot, the water-bearer said, "As we return to our sacred temple today, I want you to notice the path on which we walk."

The cracked pot did take notice: He saw the sun warming pretty wild flowers along the way and this did brighten his outlook. But as they came upon the temple, the pot was sadden again by his lack of water and apologized once more for his failure. 

The water-bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice the flowers only growing along your side of the path? I have always known about your flaw, and I saw an advantage in it. I planted flower seeds on your side and every day while we walk back from the river you have watered them.”

“For two years, the village devotees have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to adorn the temple's altar. Without you being just the way you are, the beauty of these flowers would not have graced the temple. The Lord’s perfect plan includes your sincere offering to do what you alone can do — and that is very acceptable in God’s sight."


A friend of mine has a very positive disposition. She often writes in a journal, expressing gratitude for the simple things that touch her heart as well as those bigger events that need acknowledgement too. Her journal provides space for her to write her reflections on inspiring, thought-provoking, meaningful statements — ”words of wisdom” that she encounters during her day-to-day journey. She radiates a natural humbleness, an aura of caring goodness towards all and a genuine confidence in humanity. If ever a “crack” is noticed, her loving kindness manifests a bridge in order to help her cross the chasm.


“God’s compassion embraces and includes all things.” — Saint Anthony of Padua



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