The Potter’s Wheel is Still Turning

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
—Jeremiah 18:3-6

God told Jeremiah to go the potter’s house because, through the work of the potter, God would reveal his message to Jeremiah. The prophet watched as the potter worked at the wheel, purposefully shaping the clay with a beautiful and useful end in mind. But, as the potter worked, something went wrong. The clay was “marred in his hands.” The clay wasn’t responding to the potter’s touch the way he intended. It was falling short of the purpose the potter had for it.

At this point, I believe, Jeremiah saw the heart of the message God wanted him to grasp. The potter didn’t throw the clay away. He didn’t reject it as useless. The potter continued to work on the clay. He worked with an unrelenting purpose to create a beautiful, useful vessel. Even when the clay was marred, when the journey toward fulfillment was delayed, the potter’s wheel continued to turn.

God tells Jeremiah that God’s people are like clay in his hands. God works with a purpose to bring his dream for his people into reality. To make that truth personal, God is at work in your life and mine with divine purpose. He works to make our lives reflect his beauty and glory, to make our lives useful vessels for his kingdom’s work.

Then something goes wrong. For some reason our lives aren’t taking shape. Despite the work of God the Potter, the dream isn’t coming true. Many things can mar a vessel, but depression is certainly one of them. Depression can leave you feeling like a flawed, unfinished divine project. Feeling marred, falling short of the dream, you may believe that your life is over.

Have the courage and hope to see what Jeremiah saw long ago and apply it to your life today. The Potter’s wheel is still turning. His hands are still upon you, shaping your life despite your flaws and your struggles, with the goal of revealing his glory through you. You need not give up on your life, because God hasn’t given up. He does some of his best work with vessels that need an extra touch, another try, a new beginning.

If you feel like giving up because of the struggles you face, look up and see. The Potter’s wheel is still turning.


Heavenly Potter, I feel like a marred vessel. Depression seems to have taken away so much promise and potential from my life. I’ve despaired that your work in me has failed. I need to see what Jeremiah saw long ago. I need to see you at work with flawed people like me. I need to know you haven’t surrendered your dream for my life. Your hand is upon me. Your purpose is shaping me. I praise you that your potter’s wheel is still turning. Amen.

Truth to Affirm

The Potter’s wheel is still turning, making something beautiful and useful of my life.

This post originally appeared in Seeing in the Dark: Biblical Meditations for People Dealing with Depression by Ronald D. Vaughan.

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  1. Alexandria says

    Awesome lesson! Thank you!