Kali had to travel 2 miles to the nearest river for clean water. Every morning under the African sun she would take a yoke upon her shoulders to carry the two clay jars to the river. She would fill the jars in the flowing current, hoist them back up onto the yoke, and the yoke onto her shoulders. The trip home took twice as long due to the added weight. But her family relied on her, and so she went.
The people began to notice a funny thing about the girls who went for water. Over time, they began to smile more. They sang more often as they walked and seemed more at peace with the world. Kali’s father noticed as well, but was too distracted by Kali’s jars. One of them had a large crack down the side so that as she walked, she lost water. Not only that, but the weight on her shoulders became more and more uneven as she trod, making the trip more painful and difficult with each step. Her father said, “Kali, dear. Let me get you another jar for the trip.” But Kali refused and her father obliged her. Day after day she would return with enough water, but not all she could carry. Day after day her back hurt a little more and her walk was a little slower.
Finally, her father asked one of Kali’s friends, herself a water bearer for her family, “How can you sing and be happy when your friend Kali is hurting more and more?” Kali’s friend replied, “I sing for Kali, because she has done a marvelous thing. You see, as the broken jar spills water along the side of the path, it waters the ground and now we have a beautiful flower garden to see and smell every day when we go for water. The flowers bring us peace and joy, and make our lives easier. This is why Kali will not change her pot and suffers… it is for us.”
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”