The parable of the peanut butter jar

"Empty Jar of PB&J" by Robert Banh, 2009, CC BY 2.0 -

Have you ever considered that an empty peanut butter jar has a lot in common with life and salvation?

“I definitely do not like washing peanut butter jars! Mom, do we really have to wash this peanut butter jar?”

Of course, she already knew the answer. “Yes, daughter, the peanut butter jar needs to be washed.”

Peanut butter washcloths?

Rosemary continued to scrub, but it seemed like her washcloth might as well have been made of peanut butter itself for all the good it was doing.

“It seems like the harder I scrub, the dirtier the jar gets!” And she repeated her former statement for emphasis: “I definitely do not like washing peanut butter jars.”

“Rosemary, let me show you a trick,” Mother said as she scooted up beside Rosemary at the sink.

There is a secret to washing peanut butter jars. Want to know what it is?”

“Sure.” What else could Rosemary say? Mom was going to show her anyway, she was sure.


“Watch this.” Mom swished and swished — and the peanut butter jar was actually coming clean. “The secret is water.”

“Oh, great secret,” thought Rosemary, although she had to admit Mom had her curiosity aroused.

Mom noticed the look on Rosemary’s face.

“Really,” she said. “Watch. When I push hard with the washcloth, the peanut butter just smears all around. The harder I push, the less progress I make. But… if I use a gentle touch, like this…” Mom lightened her touch. “Then the water can actually get in there — and check it out! The jar is coming clean!”

“Aaaah, I get it,” Rosemary grinned. “Water.” She had to laugh. It seemed too simple.

Is “scrub hard enough” the answer?

Have you ever considered that life and salvation are kind of like the peanut butter jar? Sometimes when we lead the children to Jesus, we look at their poor, messy lives in a bit of despair. We feel like if we just “scrub hard enough,” we will begin to see some results.

But what is really the result of haphazard, rough scrubbing on a child’s life? Not much. Irritation, perhaps. Certainly not the results we are after.

Lighten up!

But if we lighten up our touch and leave room for the Water of Life to do its beautiful work….

That’s the secret! A very light touch on our part actually leaves room for the miracle to happen! Lives are changed. The mess of a child’s past sins are washed away.

Pretty soon, the Holy Spirit has worked such wonders in his life that even the old label is gone. The child is left a pure, clear glass, perfectly fit for holding new things — like water.

And in all he does, the light of Heaven shines gloriously through him.

Perhaps one day soon, he will even be the one to pass on some of that water….

image: “Empty Jar of PB&J” by Robert Banh, 2009 (CC BY 2.0) –


The parable of the peanut butter jar — 2 Comments

  1. I find that if the water is HOT, it helps a lot, too, as does soap. But, for my soul, only the Blood of Jesus can wash my sins away. (Not sure how you’d put heat into the analogy, or soap, though… or blood for that matter…thought provoking, anyway) 🙂 I appreciate your gentleness. Looking forward to more, as always.

    • Thanks, Brother Dave. I pondered the soap and hot water thing, too, lol. I figured I better just stop while the analogy still flowed smoothly. 😉 But if you come up with something, feel free to come back and comment again!

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