Before the Dance

Messy hands sculpting on a pottery wheel in motionPhoto by Quino Al on Unsplash


A stubborn lump of clay in the hands of a persistent Potter. A parable

At the wicket gate into the Potter's house, Huldah the Prophetess heard a familiar impulse whisper, "Go inside."

She would have passed by, for the sun was hot and the way to her destination still long.

The Potter, a grim man with an almond-blossomed hair, busied at his wheel, churning a vessel out of a lump of clay. 

The lump wouldn’t stay still on the wheel. Now and then, it would agitate. And now and then, it would get spoiled in the hands of its maker.

It was a sight worth paying more attention to. The prophetess pulled her seat closer, seeking to understand why the workman wouldn’t throw the stubborn, ugly, earthen material out through the window above him.

After another fitful agitation by the lump, Huldah asked the Potter, "Why are you patient with a vessel that doesn’t want to be made whole? Perhaps, the material isn't good?"

With a smile, not the least faint, the Potter said, "I should give up on it, but not so soon. It thinks it’s ready and should join the finished vessels in the shop. It wants to get over the process. But that can't be."


Several months later, the woman of God passed that way again and went in to give the Potter her salutations.

The routine had not changed. There he was, at his wheel, working on a lump of clay.

A beautiful vessel next to the wheel, danced with all its strength, resulting in a blend in the rainbow colors around its rim.

With a gaping mouth, Huldah watched it. "I didn’t know your vessels danced."

For a moment, the Potter gave the enraptured vessel his attention. Then turning to the prophetess, he said, “They do. Once they come out so beautiful’.

"But why is it not on the shelf in the shop?"

"Ah! You won't believe this. It has begged to stay a little longer at the workshop so it could tell the other vessels to stay still on the wheel and be made faster by the gentle hand of the Potter. You remember it, don’t you?"

Another speechless instant. The prophetess gathered the hem of her long gown together. "You don't mean. Is this the same lump of clay I saw you working on the last time?" She guessed it wasn't.

The Potter only laughed. The case of the vessel was not isolated.

Leaving the Potter's house, Huldah proclaimed in the streets:

"The refiner knows when the silver should leave the crucible.

The goldsmith knows when it's time to smother the furnace.

A vessel fit and ready for the Master's use must be molded

Not by haste or delay, but by the master's standard.

Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Janet is a Christian with a knack for writing. While it helps her to unclutter her mind, she also uses the talent to encourage the pursuit of intimacy with God and a purpose-driven life.

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