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The Potter's House

The Potter's House           Saturday, December 16, 2017



By, James l. Thornton

God wanted to teach Jeremiah how he was working for the good of people of Israel, so he sent him down to the potter’s house to watch the potter at work. As Jeremiah watched, the potter took a lump of clay and began the process of fashioning a vessel on the wheel.

As the potter worked with his hands shaping the lump of clay into a vessel of his own design something happened, and the vessel he had planned to make was suddenly marred, or miss-shapened, in his hands.

As Jeremiah watched, the potter, did not, at this point, cast the clay away, but, in his great patience, put the clay back on the wheel and fashioned another vessel from the same lump.


1. The Church Is The Potter’s House

2. The Clay

3. The Press

4. The Wheel

5. The Furnace

6. The Potter’s Field


Jeremiah 18:1. “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

2. Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

4. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it

We want to look at this passage and learn, as Jeremiah did, something about how God works in our own life. We will see some of the same procedures being applied in his task of fashioning us into a vessel “fit for the master’s use.”

We will follow the process that the potter uses to make a vessel and apply the same procedure God uses in working on us.


There we will hear the word of the lord. Something is taking place in the church, because the potter is at work.

The potter’s house may not be the most attractive place in town. It may be located in an out of the way neighborhood. But one thing sure it is a peaceful place with a harmonious atmosphere. There are row upon row of contented vessels each in their own place. The mind of the potter rules there.

One day God put on his work clothes.

Philippians 2:5. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” 

It takes a special kind of clay for the potter to make a vessel from. It is dug out of the river bottoms, out from underneath the surface.


Psalm 40:2. “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” 

God is looking, digging, for you.

The clay is worthless without the potter.

1 Timothy 1:15. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

The clay has to be broken in His hands. The potter takes the clay and breaks it apart and kneads it like a baker kneads the dough, working it in his hands.

We can liken this unto conviction when the Holy Spirit begins to work on us and we become broken on the altar, weeping and agonizing before God.

Then the potter washes the clay to wash away the dirt or earth which is not real clay. We submit to water baptism to wash away our sins, or the elements in us which will not make a vessel which can be used.


Then the potter takes the lump of clay which has been broken and washed and puts it in a press. This process is very necessary because the press is used to get rid of impurities, sand, gravel, twigs, leaves, and all foreign matter. It is very essential to rid the clay of all impurities because when the vessel is baked it will break if there are impurities left in it.

So next time we feel the pressure maybe it is God trying to rid us of some impurity.  Let us pray day by day that God’s will be done in our lives. The pressure comes as a natural process of following God. If we read the history of God’s people they were all under pressure, at various times.


After the clay has been broken, washed, and pressed, the potter places it upon the wheel. The potter’s wheel consists of a round table top attached to a shaft that is rotated by petals which the potter turns by his feet and legs.

Round and round the top spins and the potter grasps the clay with his hands forming a circle around it. He applies slight pressure and the clay begins to rise in his hands, and take on the form of a vessel. The potter touches the clay and shapes it as it spins on the wheel.

The potter has in his mind the shape and size of the vessel he wants to make from this particular lump of clay. Sometimes, as in the instance Jeremiah witnessed, the clay that he is working with, for some reason, does not form, or shape to his satisfaction.

Maybe it was too firm or stiff, so he adds a little more water to the clay, kneading it with his hands until it feels just right. It may have been too soft, so he adds a little more clay to the lump and works it in with his hands. Whatever the reason for the marred vessel, thank God the potter starts anew, repeatedly if necessary, with the same lump of clay, on the same wheel, to make another vessel.

You and I, are the clay in the hands of the master potter, and no matter what happens, no matter how many times he has to start over with us, do not fall out of his hands as round and round we go. Stay on the wheel and let his hands mold us into a vessel he can use. This is very necessary for, as we describe the further process there comes a time when the vessel can no more be reworked.

At length the potter puts the finishing touches on the vessel and when he finishes he gently sets it aside somewhere on a shelf with hundreds of other vessels. This is called the curing process. This also is a very necessary process. The vessel sets there not being used for days, sometimes weeks, just curing out, not yet ready for service.

Did you ever feel like God has just set you aside and forgotten about you? Remember I told you how important that the curing process was.


In the back of the potters house is a furnace and a green vessel, or one that is not cured, will not stand the awful heat of the furnace. So God knows us best, and knows what we can stand, He is a Master Potter and will, if we will allow his process to work in our lives, make of us a vessel he can use.

The furnace is heated to near one thousand degrees and the cured vessel is placed in there for hours and hours, this is called firing, or the cooking process. In the wall of the furnace there is a small opening into which the potter can look at each vessel to see how they are standing up to the firing process.

If each process has gone well a smile will come across his face as he watches each vessel become the finished product he started out to make. But if one vessel begins to sag a little it has not had time to cure before it was placed in the furnace, then He will take a long rod to push it over into the fire lest it turn over and take others with it.

If there have been any impurities left in any vessel, a twig, a leaf, even a grain of sand, it will literally explode from the extreme heat. Now we can see the importance of each of these processes as we place ourselves into the hands of the potter and ask him to make of us a vessel for his service.

Each of us will be asked to go through the furnace.

This is the trials, and for some, tribulations, and others, severe persecutions to endure. This is the finishing touch; this is what makes the clay into a vessel that can be used for many things.

Without this process the clay would never become an enduring vessel. Some fired clay vessels are among the oldest objects, made by man, that have ever been found. Some are thousands of years old. God is fashioning us for eternity.


Out behind the potter’s house is a waste refuse where all the broken pieces of pottery, which would have been a vessel, are thrown, it is called the potter’s field.

A walk through the potter’s field would reveal a terrible waste. There are not only broken pieces, but crooked vessels, and marred  vessels, some with no handles, pitchers without a pouring spout, and on and on, vessels of no use to the potter.

It doesn’t have to be like that.  Everything that is in the potter’s field was intended to be a vessel of some kind. Everything that ends up in the potter’s field is there because of flaws of some kind. Some, the clay was impure, inconsistent, others broke when the heat from the furnace was applied. Bible history is filled with broken and marred vessels.

The Lord chose twelve lumps of clay to make special vessels from. He found them.

He dug them out of various places. One was a tax collector, four were fishermen, another was sitting under a fig tree, and the rest were men of varied occupations.

He took them into his hands and began to work with them.

He put them on the wheel and applied gentle pressure.

At times He set them aside to cure.

Then He put them in the furnace of trial.

One of them broke and went down to the potter’s field.

Acts 1:16. “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood.

20. For it is written in the book of Psalms, let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his Bishoprick let another take. 

Let’s ask God to make us into a vessel like He would have us to be.

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By, James L. Thornton






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