Broken Jar: The wound becomes the window
Like each of us, Broken Jar was formed by the hands of the Master Potter.
Raised by his grandmother, his early childhood contained some happy moments. Granny was very loving and kind, concerned more with matters of faith than with running the household. An amazing story teller, Granny could bring biblical stories so alive, that for Broken Jar, they became realer than real.
Broken Jar loved to go with Granny to church. His favourite moment was accompanying Granny to the altar-rail to receive a blessing, while Granny partook of the elements of the body and blood of Christ. Granny would often tell Broken Jar that, when he understood fully, he too could hold this most special bread and drink of this extraordinary wine. “This was a bread”, she had said, “made from better than wheat, and a wine made from better than grape.” So Broken Jar knew it was very special, and longed for the day when he too, could partake.
Broken Jar had a very special fragility and vulnerability. Though beautifully cared for by Granny, the great trauma of his parents’ tragic death had opened up little cracks deep within him. Highly sensitive to any pain and suffering around him, Broken Jar would quickly lapse into a grief heavier than a small child could carry. Granny often rocked the broken-heart little child to sleep in her arms. She needed all her strength, for she too was very broken by her child’s tragic death, but God had given her eagles wings to enfold around this fragile little boy.
As Broken Jar grew older his sensitivity deepened, though more often his suffering was contained within, with the little inner cracks growing larger. Sometimes his fragility would bubble-up to the surface, and when he could no longer hold the pain, he would build a wall behind which to hide, and drift into dream or into illusion. He was now too big for Granny to hold, and at times too distant for her to reach. But she knew how to stay, to watch and to pray. When Broken Jar’s anguish completely overwhelmed him, and her own compassion stretched to breaking point, Granny would ask God to take this cup of suffering. Always after her pleading she would sigh deeply and say: “Not my will but thine be done.” It was through this experience of overwhelming anguish that Broken Jar gained his name.
It was virtually impossible for Broken Jar to communicate the experience of his inner world. He spoke of a mixture of yearning and self-loathing, which was always accompanied by an anticipation of humiliation and rejection from the outer world. Lurking within the internal cracks were uninvited voices, which were harsh and ruthless in their constant criticism and abuse. Endlessly, they sought to convince Broken Jar that his real destiny was the scrap heap, along with all other broken jars. And eventually, though it broke Granny’s heart, he went off in search of the place for broken jars.
While living among other broken jars he felt he had been cracked right in two from top to bottom, and dreamed his name had changed to Half Jars. Almost all of his life and energy seemed to have seeped out through this huge cleavage. One day he became so distraught and despairing that another broken jar needed to comfort him. Though previously he had avoided this person, he now found the gentleness of this broken jar caused him to weep, and to remember the care and love of Granny. This made him weep all the more. Later this person took him to church, but Broken Jar could not bring himself to go forward for communion. How could a broken jar possibly contain such special bread and special wine?
That night, Broken Jar had the strangest dream. The Master Potter was planning a great banquet. He was seeking a clay jar that could hold his most precious wine. Messengers were sent out to find this special jar. They brought back jars that were shining and gleaming on the outside, all of which the Master Potter declined. Eventually the Master Potter went out himself, and soon came to the dump where the cracked and broken jars had been flung. Searching among them he finally came to Broken Jar. “Will you hold my special wine?” he asked Broken Jar. Broken Jar was so overwhelmed that he could not speak. He was devastated when his inner voices began to taunt him out loud, right in the presence of the Master Potter. “Not possible”, they screeched. “You are far too cracked to contain any wine made from grape!” “Possible”, said the Master Potter, with such authority that the inner voices were stunned into silence for more than a week. “It is possible” he continued. “This wine comes from the blood of the broken and slain lamb of God. It is a wine made from far better than grape or any other fruit. Only a broken jar who knows deep suffering can possibly contain it.” Broken Jar remembered that this was the wine about which Granny had spoken, and with an overwhelming sense of joy in his heart, but still with a trembling voice, told the Master Potter that this would be his greatest honour.
This dream changed Broken Jar’s life. It was a dream that was realer than real. He now saw every other broken jar in a completely new light. He was always conscious that the Master Potter considered each broken jar capable of containing the wine made from better than grape, which of course was the Christ. Knowing that the Christ had experienced overwhelming anguish, had been taunted, deeply scarred, wounded and then put to death, enabled Broken Jar’s own cracks to emerge as his most unique gifts. Broken Jar did not move far from the other broken jars, but began to serve them, as he himself had been served. And though still fragile and often vulnerable, Broken Jar now knew there was a place deep within, below the cracks and the brokenness, where, if invited, the very spirit of Christ chose as perfect enough for his own dwelling place.