Thursday, April 14, 2011

Turning Water into Wine

"The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus' mother told him, 'They have no more wine.' Jesus replied, 'Dear woman, that is not our problem. What does that have to do with me? My time has not yet come.' But his mother told the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.' Nearby there were six stone water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. When the jars had been filled, the water turned into wine. This miraculous sign at Cana was the first time that Jesus revealed his glory and performed a miracle. His disciples saw and believed in him."
John 2:1-11

I'm sure that we could all interpret this passage in various ways and discover numerous meanings in it, as is true with most stories in the Bible that teach us different lessons. This story is a significant one because it recounts the first instance in which Jesus performed a miraculous sign in a public setting with so many people bearing witness, including his disciples. Although their presence, and the role of the servants, is barely mentioned, I think there's something important to observe and consider regarding their part in the story.

If I had been one of the servants at this wedding celebration and Jesus asked me to fill an empty jar with water when they were needing wine, I probably would have at least shot him a confused, judging glance. I might have even asked him politely with hesitation, "Umm, Jesus, you do realize that they are out of wine, not water, right? I just don't want you to be embarrassed in front of all these people when you bring them water instead of what they asked for."

The servants didn't do this though. There's no mention of them questioning his commands. Despite what they may have been thinking about such an odd request, they did just as he asked them without hesitation or a word coming from their mouth. Now, you might say that's because they were servants and it was their job to do as they were told. This may be true, but as servants and followers of Jesus Christ today, aren't we called and expected to do the same thing?

How often do we as humans (especially women) question and complain when we first receive a request, instruction or command from God? I know i'm quick to ask "Why, God?" because I want to know where he's going with this. I always want to be in "the know" which shows that I'm not trusting God and letting him have authority in my life. I want to be spared from feeling embarrassed in front of other people so I often ask "Are you sure you meant to say that? Are you sure you want me to do that?" I assume that he's wrong or mistaken or I try to persuade him to change his mind. In general, we simply doubt the word of God. We doubt that what he says is true, that he will keep his promises to us, and that his way is really in our best interest.

What I learned from this passage is that instead of questioning or doubting God, maybe I should react the way the servants did and just obey him (without any hesitation, consultation, mediation or procrastination). Everyone who was there that day witnessed this miracle and his disciples believed in him as a result, as i'm sure many other people did because of what they saw. Perhaps when we choose to obey God and follow his will despite how crazy it seems, we too will witness a miracle. Other people in our lives might see it too and come to believe in Him. I wonder if the servants thought he was crazy. I'm sure they did because they were human like me. The important thing is they chose to submit to him despite what their mind and emotions were telling them. I could learn from them!

Or maybe they didn't think he was crazy, because as we see God answer our prayers, perform miracles in our life, and direct us in our decisions along good paths, we come to realize that he's proven himself trustworthy and good and right every time.

Perhaps if we trusted him more, doubted him less and handed ourselves over to him as empty jars ready to be filled with whatever he has planned, we too would witness and experiences more miracles in our lives. If Jesus could turn water into wine then, we know that he can still perform miracles in our lives today through his Spirit that lives in us. We can bring him our brokenness and emptiness. We can hand over our lives in complete surrender knowing that he can and will turn it into something good. God created the world out of nothing. Therefore, we can believe in him to create something out of our nothingness, or something grand out of little and something good out of bad.

We just have to be clean, empty jars (ready to trust and obey him) so that he can fill us up and work the miracle in our life that we're wanting, needing and waiting on him for.

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