But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing
power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Have you ever thrown clay? As in, pottery? Sat at a potter’s wheel and taken a blob of clay and transformed it into a jar? At any point in this process, the intended object is fragile, apt to quickly become misshapen, or if it is in my hands at the wheel, fall off the wheel.
You see, my husband and I actually took a class together in college (our one and only, as our majors were vastly different, his being chemistry, mine being Christian education), and it was pottery. I learned about the wheel, slip, the different types of clay, how fast to have the wheel spinning, how much water to use, the unique smell (which I am smelling as I type this), a kiln, and how to attempt to shape an object. We were not above having fun in class, and we actually did let a few slips of clay fly at each other. I have a few projects to prove I took the class – not master pieces, but you can tell they are bowls, and one even has a lid.
Why would Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, write about jars of clay? What was he pointing out? Our frailty? What we can contain? That from dust we really are? I suppose one could make a case for each of these things, but when I think of jars of clay, I think of one brave woman.
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured
on His head as He was reclining at the table. Matthew 26:6-7
This jar contained an heirloom that she was saving for her bridegroom. She recognized Jesus as that, and used it in a very precious moment of worship. She broke her jar. Imagine the sound of it being opened – whether by striking an object, or having it unstopped. Picture this as your breathe in the smell of rich perfume – a fragrance so sweet and compelling it tells a story all on its own. I wonder if the witnesses of this scene replayed it many times in their lives. Or, if the sound or smell brought them back to the moment of Jesus reclining.
We have been likened to a jar containing something precious, waiting to be poured out for our Bridegroom. What is it that breaks you so you spill out onto your Master’s feet? Is it your love for Him? Or a demonstration of His power so you can see that indeed that power that is housed within you in no way can be from you?
Are you poured out? Or, are you being filled up like the jars at a certain wedding in Cana?
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled
them to the brim. John 2:7
That first miracle of Jesus speaks to what Paul wrote years later, which in turn speaks to us now. We are empty. We need a filling of Jesus, the Living Water. He will indeed fill us. He recognizes our emptiness, we cannot hide it from Him. And notice how the jars were filled to the brim. All the way to the top. We are given everything we need.
In this season of Thanksgiving, and now into Advent, may we be reminded that we are being filled up, so we can pour out. This may be a daily occurrence, or it could be something done over time. As we stand in awe of the miracle of Jesus, we are being filled with worship for our Abba Daddy. May that be poured out in true worship. As we are being filled with joy this season, may it be poured out on those around us, as well as back to Jesus in our prayer time, study time and service.
I thank you Lord, that I am a simple jar. The beauty is not the jar, but what it houses - the Holy Spirit. I thank You for this wonderful treasure. I desire more of You. Fill me please to the brim, over and over again. And may I want to be poured out, and poured out often for my Bridegroom. Please help me to be willing. In Your Name, Jesus. AMEN