There was once a water bearer who had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which, he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, but the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, while the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.
But the poor cracked pot was very ashamed of its imperfection, and was miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do — or so it thought.The cracked pot, after two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
“I am very ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the water bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“For the past two years, I have only been able to deliver half of my real capacity, because this crack in my side allows water to leak out all the way back to the master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the cracked pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and compassionately said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot did notice the sun shining on the beautiful wild flowers growing along his side of the path, and this cheered it some. However, at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had again leaked out half its load, and so it apologized to the water bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and put it to good use. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path (for the return trip), and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For over two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you weren’t the way you are, he wouldn’t have the flowers for his house.”