The work of a potter moulding the clay at his wheel is well understood as a Biblical analogy of the relationship between God and us, His people, because the basics of the potter's craft have changed very little over the centuries.
Potters take great care in selecting and preparing the clay that they use. Some add special kinds of grass to the mud, and as the organic matter rots and decays, it increases the colloidal content of the clay and helps it to stick together better. However, the process of decay produces an overpowering stench in the pit where the clay is kept. When he's ready, the potter reaches down into the mire, feeling around for an appropriate lump of clay for his next project. Then he lifts it out, shapes it into a ball, and carefully centres it on his wheel. This potter's wheelhead is a round slab of stone, which combines flywheel and wheelhead in one piece. The stone was hewn from rock in the mountains behind his primitive shop. Knowing this gives new meaning to this verse:
Psalm 40:1 – He lifted me out of the horrible, slimy pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock.
Perhaps we don't appreciate the great care God exercises in preparing and selecting us for His use. Many of us can identify with the slimy, smelly pit of our former sinful ways, out of which God has lifted us. If Christ is the Rock upon which we stand, to be of maximum use to Him, our life has to be absolutely centred on Christ. Are we willing to be clay in the hands of the master Potter?
Prayer: Lord God, help us to identify clearly the love with which You have prepared and chosen us for Your eternal purposes. "Mould me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still." Amen.