The Potter and the Clay


The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.” Jeremiah 18:1-10 ESV

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV


Have you ever seen a potter’s wheel? Maybe you’ve even had the chance to use one. The wheel turns, and you put a lump of clay in the middle, and as it turns around you can hollow it out in the inside and make the shape the way you want it on the outside just by touching and smoothing it as the wheel turns. Potter’s wheels are very old. Before people used potter’s wheels, they would make a pot or a jar one piece at a time. They would take a chunk of clay and roll it into a coil, and turn the coil into a ring. Then they’d make another ring and put it on top of the first one, and keep on doing that, stacking one ring on top of the other. After the jar was as tall as they wanted it, they would smooth it all over. Inventing the potter’s wheel made it possible to make jars much faster and more perfectly.

The prophet Jeremiah visited a potter’s house and watched him make his jars for awhile. If the clay got off-center on the wheel or if the shape wasn’t coming out right, the potter would stop and take the clay off the wheel and then reshape it and put it back on again. He could do whatever he wanted with the clay. God spoke through Jeremiah and said that his people were like clay, and the Lord himself was the potter. If his people didn’t follow his ways and live as the people he wanted them to be, he would take them off the wheel and start over again to shape them. God warned his people through Jeremiah that he would remove them from their land and take them to another land far away if they didn’t repent of their sins.

We are also clay in God’s hands. We too have rebelled against God and gone our own way, but he took us and reshaped us to be his own people. He did this through Jesus, his Son, who came to die on the cross for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could return to our Heavenly Father. God has taken our ruined lives and reshaped them in the way that he planned. He loves us and forgives us, and not only has he remade us through Jesus, but he’s also prepared good things for us to do for him and for other people. He sends us his Holy Spirit to guide is in his ways, now and always.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for taking our ruined lives and reshaping them for yourself through our Savior Jesus. In His Name, Amen.