Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Potter and the Clay

As is usually the case, I started making notes about the potter a couple of years ago. As I began to prepare my outline and also began to look at some of the Scriptures, I really felt I needed to go to a real potter's house. 

I spent much time on the Internet researching about pottery and the work of the Potter.  I learned a lot on the Internet about the process, about the details, about how the potter works. I also learned about many of the techniques different potters use to achieve their goal. There are many things that stood out to me, but especially the fact that the potter knows what he is going to make before he starts his work.

After doing all the research and even watching several videos on the Internet, I really wanted to see a real potter at work. So Loida and I headed out to find a potter. We found one in place called Yaguaron, in Paraguay, where we were able to stop and actually watch the potter at work.

The family that runs the place was very nice and patient with us. They walked around and showed us the different processes that are necessary for making pottery.

Even though they do not do fine china, or some of the very sophisticated and intricate work with porcelain and other  techniques, the process for pottery remains about the same.

Here is the process of the potter:

a. Prepare the clay
- Choose the clay
- Purify the clay
- Knead and wedge the clay
b. Center the clay on the wheel (rock)
c. Open the clay (creating an opening)
d. Mold the clay
e. Decorate the piece (pot, jar, plate, etc.)
f. Dry the piece
g. Place it in the oven

Jeremiah 18:1-3 (NKJV)
"1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.

Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV)

"But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand."

Jeremiah 18:6 (NKJV)

“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!"

There are so many wonderful lessons we have learned from the potter and the clay, but one of the most important lessons is that all the clay needs to do is place itself in the capable, expert, loving hands of the potter! That is our part. That is all we CAN do!

He has the master plan. He understands the process. He knows what is necessary. He knows how to work with the clay. His only desire and purpose is the making of a useful vessel.

We also learned that a useful vessel is not necessarily the biggest or prettiest. Applied to our lives, it is not the biggest ministry, the most converts or any other visible, measurable thing that we usually consider. The useful vessel is quite simply the one that is full.

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