Sometimes it's so easy to take things for granted, like where we live for example. In the heart of the city, it's so easy to forget that we live in the very land where Jesus walked. Thankfully, every so often we are able to take a trip to the south to visit this beautiful area. The rugged hillsides, the olive groves, it's simply picture perfect. Above is the snow capped peak of Mount Hermon which is a little difficult to see through the haze, but you can take my word for it.
As is often the case when we are serving as tour guides for our area, things don't always go as planned. This particular trip to the south was no exception. Thankfully though, these unexpected changes usually end up better than anything we could have planned and that is exactly what happened this time. We were directed to a particular village that is known for it's pottery. We were able to meet a precious local couple who are the last of a generation of potters in this particular village. They walked us through the entire process of their work of making both bricks and pottery. For bricks they start with a mixture of mud and hay like this...
They take this mixture and put it in an oven they've constructed in their hillside..
I loved that he had this little radio sitting beside where he was working..
Moving on up the hillside to the roof, they showed us how they made pottery. First they dig deep into the ground to find the clay and separate it from the dirt. They soak the clay in water until it becomes a yogurt-like consistency and then they spread it out to harden for 14 days. Everything is set up on the roof top with a beautiful view of the valley below.
Here on this tree, you can see some of the finished products...
We walked further up the hill towards the work area where we were able to take our pick in a roomful of last years creations. They haven't started yet this year, but are still in the process of getting everything ready.
This sweet man was such a joy to watch at work. You could tell he was so proud of us work and so pleased to have someone to share it with. Sadly he is one of only two potters left in this little village and the other is often at work in the city. He wanted to pass his trade on to one of his 5 children but they were not interested in taking it up.
He climbed behind the wheel and was so pleased to give us a demonstration...
It was amazing how quickly the lump of clay begin taking shape. I love his pleased expression!
He was literally caressing the clay. It was such a beautiful process to watch.
He handled each piece so delicately and so masterfully.
He had all of these pieces completed in under 10 minutes.
Watching the potter at work, I was really overwhelmed by the picture of God's love for me. His (the potter's) expression was one of absolute pleasure as he formed each lump of clay into a unique creation, carefully crafting and molding each part with a very deliberate purpose.
Jeremiah 18: 3-6 "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. The 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 you are in my hand", O house of Israel.
I praise him that no matter how marred I am, He can shape me according to His perfect plan!