Pottery was so common in the biblical period and pot shards are fundamental in dating archaeological sites from all periods of human habitation. Since the Bible speaks of the potter and clay and applies the image to spiritual lessons, we thought that a Potter’s Workshop would be an ideal addition to the tour at Nazareth Village.
At the beginning of this year we commissioned an archaeological team to do research for us and explored together where would be best to build the facilities associated with a potter. During the summer, our least busy time of year, we began building. The work was mostly done before the heavy rains of winter started.
Alongside the workshop, complete with potter’s wheel and drying shelves, we built Settling Pools where the clay mixture is made; and also a large and a small kiln or oven for ‘firing’ the clay, after which it can be used or sold.
The Bible is rich with significant passages relating to the potter and clay. The word for potter is related to the verb “to form” – such as when God “formed” man in Genesis. One may even say that God shaped man “from the dust of the earth” with his hands as a potter forms clay. Isaiah applies this metaphor to the whole people of God: “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
When Paul speaks of God’s choice of the elect he applies this same metaphor to illustrate it: “Does not the potter have power over the clay; from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Romans 9:21) Did you know?
We are delighted to be adding the new Potter’s Workshop to our tour. Please pray that it will help bring visitors closer to the life Jesus would have known and to the words of the Bible.