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A little girl with a broken pitcher…

March 16, 2007

is a story told by Donald Grey Barnhouse in How God Saves Men (1955).

During the last century, in the worst slum district of London, there was a social worker whose name was Henry Moorehouse.  One evening as Moorehouse was walking along the street, he saw a little girl come out of a basement store carrying a pitcher of milk.  She was taking it home.  When she was a few yards from Moorehouse, she suddenly slipped and fell.  Her hands relaxed their grip on the pitcher and it dropped on the sidewalk and broke.  The milk ran down into the gutter, and the little girl began to cry as if her heart would break.  Moorehouse quickly stepped up to see if she was hurt.  He helped her to her feet, saying, "Don’t cry, little girl."

But she kept crying, repeating through her tears, "My mommy’ll whip me; my mommy’ll whip me."

Moorehouse said, "No, little girl, your mother won’t whip you.  I’ll see to that.  Look, the pitcher isn’t broken in many pieces."  As he stooped down beside her, picked up the pieces, and began to work as he were putting the pitcher back together, the little girl stopped crying.  She had hope. She came from a family in which pitchers had been mended before.  Maybe this stranger could repair the damage.  She watched as Moorehouse fitted several of the pieces together until, working too roughly, he knocked it apart again.  Once more she began to cry, and Moorehouse had to repeat, "Don’t cry, little girl.  I promise you that your mother won’t whip you."

Again they began the task of restoration, this time getting it all together except for the handle.  Moorehouse gave it to the little girl, and she tried to attach it.  But, naturally, all she did was knock it down again.  This time there was no stopping her tears.  She would not even look at the broken pieces lying on the sidewalk.

Finally Moorehouse picked the little girl up in his arms, carried her down the street to a shop that sold crockery, and bought her a new pitcher.  Then, still carrying her, he went back to where the girl had bought the milk and had the new pitcher filled.  He asked her where she lived.  When he was told, he carried her to the house, set her down on the step, and placed the full pitcher of milk in her hands.  Then he opened the door for her.  As she stepped in, he asked one more question, "Now, do you think your mother will whip you?"

He was rewarded for his trouble by a bright smile as she said to him, "Oh, no, sir, ’cause it’s a lot better pitcher ‘an we had before."

A broken pitcher not restored by my hands, not filled by my hands, but received through faith by my hands.  I desire none other.

Thanks be to God for the very righteousness of Jesus Christ! 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2007 3:10 pm

    Elle, that was absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. What a Savior! “Thanks be to God for the very righteousness of Jesus Christ,” indeed!!

  2. March 18, 2007 9:16 pm

    So lovely! What a beautiful illustration.

    I can think of so many applications…I’ll be going on this one for a while. Thank you for posting it.

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