Reading John 2:1-11
Jesus changes water into wine
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’
4 ‘Woman,[a] why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’
5 His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from eighty to a hundred and twenty litres.
7 Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Life can throw everything at us at times, can’t it? It’s good that you don’t really know what is round the corner, because if you did know, you probably wouldn’t get out of bed. Who would have thought that a woman going out along a public walkway for a run, would be stopped in her tracks, brutally murdered and never return home.
Unfortunately we live in a fallen world. No matter how hard we try, bad things still happen. It’s not just the small things, but it is the life altering experiences. People still get sick. Loved ones still die. Bills still need to be paid and families still need to be fed.
David was a man who knew something of hard times. He, like all of us here today, knew what a struggle this life can be. “Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” Psalm 86:1-4. Just like David, we can find ourselves at the end of our tether, and the only place to turn is to God. Maybe that’s why you came to church today – because you have only God to turn to.
So I have to say the story in our reading today is not an event that is in any way tragic compared to the issues in this past week. But it does help us today to think about how Jesus addresses the issues that we face in life, whether big or small.
We all know the story well – Jesus tells the men to fill up water jars. Now these are not just any jars; they are ceremonial cleansing jars. The water poured from these vessels was used for washing. Perhaps, as some would suggest, the guests would have used these to cleanse themselves, purify themselves, so that they could join in the festivities. For those that were here last week and we were reading about the purification ceremonies that John the Baptist had adapted, well these jars would have been the carrier of the water for the Jewish purification rite.
Why would Jesus use jugs that were for cleansing? Well, I believe He did it for a reason. He may have chosen the least likely of containers to show us something amazing. He was using the least likely of objects to bring restoration to the situation.
Let’s just think about that – isn’t that what God does with us sometimes? When we are faced with difficulties in this life, isn’t it often that the answers to our problems come from some of the most obscure places? And I think whenever and whatever we face, where we cannot see the wood for the trees, where we have no idea of how on earth any hope will come from a devastating situation, in and through God he can do the unimaginable.
I was visiting a parishioner in the past days, and it was clear that they were very lonely, depressed and upset about matters. She was on my heart to call, and even though I had put it off, there was something about calling with them yesterday. I knew I had to. We chatted, we talked through the issues, we read scripture – she opened her bible, and I opened mine. And then at the end of the visit she remarked how earlier that morning she had knelt in prayer that the issue she was facing would be addressed. But now she could see that God had sent me to help answer her problems. I left her home and she was feeling lifted and encouraged by what God had done.
You may be here today not knowing what is next for you. What ever the struggle may be, I want you to know that an answer is coming. It may not be coming in the way you expect it.
“Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:7-10
In the face of a personal disaster, Jesus changed the outcome. Maybe today there’s a deep worry and anxiety about how you will ever deal with an issue that’s right before you now. Put yourself in the shoes of the bridegroom. All that you have to offer or give is gone. You’re running on empty. Like the wedding, all that is left are some useless used jugs. But remember that Jesus filled them up with His grace, and restored and brought life back to something that seemed empty. He can do that with you or a situation you face.
John 2:11 says that What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. When He shows us a new path, a new grace, it is done to strengthen our faith in Him. The disciples placed their faith in Him over a wine issue. It’s not ever day clear water becomes rich wine. These men were just beginning to see how the best things come in the end.
All hope is not lost. Bad days come to everybody. The thing to remember is that Jesus is here. He wants the best for you in ALL that you do. Know as the Psalmist says in Psalm 121 to lift up your eyes to the hills, because your help will always come from your Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. No matter your problems, keep trusting and believing in Him.