In a tiny village nestled on a mountainside there was once a hardworking water-bearer who brought fresh water to his master every day. The walk from the river was long and trailed over a hill to the other side.
The water-bearer would hang a large clay pot on either side of a rod that he carried across the back of his neck. One pot was perfectly formed while the other one had a crack in it. This meant the water-bearer would bring back one pot brimming with water and the other only half full.
For two whole years, the diligent servant delivered one and a half pots of water to his master’s house every day. During this time the pot that was perfectly formed became more and more proud of its accomplishment. It saw itself as perfectly suited for its purpose.
But the cracked pot felt unfortunate and embarrassed of its imperfection. It was miserable that it could not fully achieve its purpose. One day by the stream, the pot felt impelled to speak to the water-bearer.
“I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologise to you,” it said.
“Why?” asked the surprised water-bearer, “what are you ashamed of?”
“For the past two years, I have only ever delivered half my load. I have been leaking water out of the crack in my side all the way back to your master’s house. You’ve worked so hard without ever getting the full value of your efforts and this all because of me and my flaw,” said the pot.
The water-bearer felt sorry for the cracked pot and out of compassion said, “As we return to the master’s house now, I want you to look out for the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Obediently, the cracked pot noticed a trail of wildflowers along the way over the hill. This did cheer the pot up, but the bright colours did not console it completely.
Once home, the pot became distressed again to see that it had leaked out half its quantity of water. It apologised again for its failing.
The water-bearer smiled and said, “Friend, did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path and not on the other side. Do you know why?
The pot didn’t reply and waited for further explanation.
“You see, I noticed your ‘flaw’ and thought of a way to make the best of it. So I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day on our walk back from the stream you kindly watered them for me. Thus, for the past two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers and decorate my master’s table with them.”
The water-bearer pointed to a bunch of blooming foxgloves, large daisies, violets and yarrow that lay tied with a blue ribbon on the master’s table.
“If you were not just the way you are, we would not have such beauty to grace the house. None of us are perfect, but each of us has unique talents which we can use in the service of god and humanity. Thank you so much little pot.”