Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Image from Broken Pieces of Clay and Pottery: A Lesson in Humanity, navedz.com
Thus saith the Lord, Go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests / Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again:
— Jeremiah 19:1,10-11a
Earlier in this story, Jeremiah witness a potter shape wet clay into a pot. The pot is flawed, and collapses. The potter starts again with the same clay.1 The clay represents a pliant people, a nation that God can shape and reshape as needed, providing it stays soft and changeable. Once dry change becomes harder, and once baked change becomes nigh impossible, breakage being the only method to achieve it.
By smashing a pot in their presence Jeremiah shows the city elders and priests what is likely to become of this hard, disobedient nation. Using performance art, rather than simply sermonising Jeremiah creates a compelling visual image of a once-powerful nation smashed to pieces by hostile forces. The elders' response to this lesson is high indignation and denial. Jeremiah is arrested, beaten and imprisoned. The truth hurts.
1 Jeremiah 18:3-4