INNER CIRCLE: The Kingdom Is A Leaky Jar

INNER CIRCLE: The Kingdom Is A Leaky Jar February 16, 2024

IMAGE: Keith Giles [MidJourney]
Saying 97

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking on a distant road, the handle of the jar broke and the meal poured out behind her on the road. She was unaware, she had not noticed the misfortune. When she came to her house, she put the jar down and found it empty.”


Once again, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a woman. We follow her actions which are some of the most mundane and commonplace activities a woman in the first century could perform: making bread and carrying jars. Here, the woman carries meal in a broken jar that spills everything out on the road behind her as she walks, oblivious to the loss of food until she reaches her house and discovers the jar is empty.

What is the lesson here? How can the Kingdom of the Father be compared to a lump of dough that rises as the yeast slowly permeates the bread in one saying, and then becomes associated with a great loss of food in the very next saying? In the previous saying, the Kingdom expanded and grew unnoticed. Here, the Kingdom seems to slip away unnoticed as the woman [perhaps even the same woman] carries the jar with the hole in it.

One possible idea is that Jesus wants to assure us that the Kingdom reality must inevitably cover the earth, but at the same time wants to warn us that what we think we have – an awareness of the Divine Unity – can also be lost to us if we’re not careful. Both are true at the same time: The Kingdom reality will inevitably spread to every conscious being, but the realization can be lost to us if we are not paying attention. In other words, the “two steps forward, one step back” movement of the Kingdom reality is, in some ways, unavoidable, but in other ways, something we can mitigate against by simply being disciplined in our daily life.

If we know that we are likely to get distracted by the mundane tasks we should do what we can to remind ourselves of the glorious reality of our Oneness with God and with one another. We are not powerless victims to the whims of fate. We have agency. We have ability. We have an awareness of our Divine Unity with the Universe, and so we can – and should – do whatever is necessary to remain awakened to this reality so that we don’t fall back asleep again.

Another way of reading this saying is to ask ourselves what the woman does when she arrives home to find her jar is empty. Is she frustrated? Is she heartbroken? Or is this simply a metaphor for our lives? Each of us came into this world with nothing, and we will all pass away into the next life with nothing. What if this saying pairs with the saying above about giving freely to whomever asks of us? What if the real point is that we should live our lives with a sense of abundance? What if spreading the meal along the road behind us is the point? Not to hoard the meal for ourselves, selfishly, but to freely distribute the grain as we travel through our lives so that, when we arrive home – at the place where we all began [the Source] – we can truly say that we gave all we had and shared all we were given with everyone we met along the way.

In today’s parlance, we often say that athletes should “leave it all on the field” as a way of saying that we should give everything we have to win the game. So, in the game of life, what if what Jesus wants us to do is to leave everything along the road as we travel so that we hold nothing in our hands when we come to the end?

The woman in this saying allows us to see that what may seem like a misfortune – to lose everything along the way – is actually the best thing that could happen to us – to share freely with everyone out of the abundance of our lives.


Would you like to learn more about The Gospel of Thomas? My online course, INSIDE/OUTSIDE takes a deeper dive into this text and it’s totally self-paced so you can start whenever you like and revisit the lessons anytime you want. The entire course is just $19.99 so what are you waiting for?

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Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

His latest book, Second Cup with Keith is available now on Amazon HERE>


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