In The Potter’s Hands

“Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words …” Jeremiah 18:2

Potter's Hand 1When we visited the Island of Rhodes last month, we stopped in at a ceramics studio and were blessed to watch the process of a potter creating a vase from clay. It was an amazing thing to see. The potter took hold of this mound of clay. It was nothing more than a ball of earth in his hand. He took it, placed it in the centre of his wheel, and the process began. In his expert hands the soft earth was pressed, kneaded, squeezed and then gently pulled both outwards and upwards Potter's Hand 2 as a beautiful  vessel began to take form before us.

With absolute precision and perfect timing the potter worked. He did not waver. He did not take his eyes off the clay for a moment as he laboured with it . In a matter of minutes he had taken a mass of nondescript earth and transformed it into something lovely, useful, purposeful and one of a kind!

 Potter's Hand 3 God gives us so many wonderful pictures in the Bible of His relationship with us, and in this case, as I watched the potter at work, I naturally thought of the analogy of God as the potter and us, as clay in His hands, to do with as He wills,

‘“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 …”’ Jeremiah 18:6.

I found out a little bit more about the pottery process and it gives even more of an amazing insight to this picture of us as clay. After the ‘required form’ has been shaped in the hands of the potter, the body of clay must go through a process of Potter's Hand 4“firing” so that this change in its form becomes permanent. It is placed in a kiln at high temperature, which induces a reaction in its make up that strengthens the clay and sets the new shape irreversibly.

Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that exactly what God does with us as we allow ourselves to be soft and responsive to Him? He begins to change us into the ‘required form’ of His Son through the prodding of the Holy Spirit and through the conviction of His Word.

Potter's Hand 5

For  that change in us to become permanent  and irreversible, God will allow us to go through a process of “firing” where our circumstances and relationships create the necessary pressure to see His Word borne out in our choices and character. The most beautiful thing is, as we come out of the kiln, we are visibly transformed into a greater likeness of His Son, and something lovely and purposeful in His hands.

Potter's Hand 6One other wonderful thing I learned is shown in the last photo. If you look very closely you can see that the inside of the vessel is made up of a series of tracks or lines. If ever you were to open a vessel and see its inside with these lines ingrained, it would show that the vessel is hand- crafted, one of a kind, and absolutely authentic. What are these lines? The finger prints of the potter himself.

But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And we are the work of Your HandIsaiah 64:8

© Copyright 2007 Birgit Whelan


~ by Birgit on June 23, 2007.

4 Responses to “In The Potter’s Hands”

  1. Hi Birgit,

    This is a beautiful post. I loved the photos and I particularly enjoyed reading what you shared at the end about the inside of the vessel bearing the finger prints of the potter. It is amazing to think that we all bear the finger prints of God in us. And something else; our names are engraved on the hands of God. (Isaiah 49:16) Both the potter and the clay bear indelible marks of the other!

  2. hi my lovely, love this example. also to add its amazing as the if the clay had a mind it would probably be saying “what on earth is going on? I’m being bent, pushed, squeezed”!! reminds me of the scripture 2 corin 4:811 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

    God knows what He’s doing and by doing what we’re created to do we please Him. Clay is just clay so lets be clay.

    lots of love my dear… xxx

  3. Just beautiful….and so timely too!
    Laura (I can feel the firing!!)

  4. Hey B, so great to read this, I was just this week praying and meditating on this, that we are the clay in the potters hands. I was even thinking, is the firing process important, that is do I need to be fired, wouldn’t that make me ‘breakable’/’fragile’? No more room for molding? Now I see it’s a process and the mystery of God. At the same time and in God’s kingdom and timing, I am both being molded and shaped, and being fired. It is happening now and continuously until Jesus’s return. You give a very clear picture of the need for firing. How it produces a reaction in us that strengthens us. I heard a teaching this week on the radio that turned a light on for me as to why we will always have a struggle in the flesh. If we didn’t have the flesh to struggle with, we would become self-righteous with no need for jesus, so our constant flesh struggle keeps us totally dependent on jesus and the holy spirit.. So the high temperatures are vital to keep us totally dependent on jesus. Don’t get to read your stuff too often, but I love it when i do. Love Sally XXX


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