A woman was reading the Book of Malachi:
When she was reading Chapter 3, she was puzzled by verse 3, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” (Mal. 3:3).
She decided to pay a visit to a silversmith and to watch him do his job. She did not tell the silversmith what caused her interest; she said it was out of sheer curiosity that she came to his workshop. The silversmith was working. He was heating up a piece of silver by holding it above the fire. He explained that this was how silver is purified: it is heated to a high temperature so as to burn out all pollutants. The woman recalled the verse and thought that the Lord purified us with fire like a silversmith. She asked the silversmith:
— So you have to sit here until the purification process is over?
— Yes, I do. Moreover, I must keep an eye on the silver all the time: if I hold the metal in the fire for too long, it will be unusable.
The woman paused to think and then asked the artisan:
— How do you know when the silver is pure enough?
The silversmith smiled and replied:
— Oh, that’s easy. The silver is ready as soon as I can see my face in it.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds