A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it. While 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, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
This went on for two years. Each day the bearer delivered only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections and not proud that it only accomplished half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the pot spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do this work but you don’t get full value for your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and he 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 noticed the sun warming the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path. This cheered the pot some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, so again it apologized to the 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 I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day while we walked back from the stream, you watered them. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”