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 to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”…His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.
When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (from John 2)
Six empty stone jars. They weren’t a rare sight, these jars. They were used for ceremonial washings, which were a regular part of Jewish life. Over the generations, the rituals had become more and more important as men put emphasis on these motions of holiness. The water these jars held could be used for anything from purification rituals to washing the dust from dirty feet. They had been filled, emptied, and filled again a countless number of times. On this day we read about in John 2, the servants were told to fill those jars yet again.
But this time, it was by the authority of Jesus.
And when the servant dipped into a jar and carried a cup to the master of the banquet, it was no longer the same water the servants had poured in. It was transformed completely – from water came wine that caused the wedding master to shake his head in wonder. To the bridegroom, in astonishment, he said – You’ve saved the best until now!
Jesus didn’t fill the jars with wine that was merely adequate. He gave those families something better than they expected, something that outshone all that had come before.
During that long-ago wedding feast, Jesus’ power brought forth abundance from emptiness. Where there had been insufficiency, He gave best-of-all provision.
You and I, we are like jars of clay. And even though we are made and molded by Him, shaped to hold His breath and His Spirit, we sometimes try to fill up with things this world can give. Like those servants, we fill and re-fill with the same old thing, day after day – pleasure, work, other people, or whatever promises fulfillment.
We can be full to the brim with all of these things, ritual after ritual done – but– don’t you feel it? We still have a soul-deep need. I think we are longing for something more…something different than what has been. I think we are longing for our lives to be entirely transformed, entirely made new.
Here’s what I’m learning, more and more every day – when yielded to Him, nothing stays the same. In our yielding to His voice, to His authority, to His command (that do whatever He tells you), He will fill us with what is Best – Himself.
And I don’t want to stay the same. I need more strength than I can muster, more grace, more love. This life, it is hard. Our world breaks our hearts in so many ways, time and again. I realize, now more than ever, just how inadequate we are in the face of pain and the darkness of sin. When it comes to the difficulties the world over, we need – desperately – the divine power of the Holy Spirit to breathe into us, to move through us. There is emptiness everywhere around us. There are needs everywhere around us. We need the help of our Savior.
It has happened before and I firmly believe it can happen still – lives transformed by the power of Jesus turn the world upside down with new hope and abundant love.
Yes – our Savior can wholly transform us. The water from those ceremonial jars could not cleanse the souls of men, but His blood flows from Calvary to wash away our sin and shame. Man-made efforts have no power to change us, but He fills us with His own Spirit – generously and completely – and changes us into His image so that we pour out His love and light into the world.
And, oh, can you get a glimpse of it? Can you see the astonishment and wonder that would come if we would generously pour into others like He pours into us? If we would let Him fill our mouths with His words…if we would let Him fill our hands with His love and stretch them out open and giving, wouldn’t we witness hearts restored and redeemed…I can almost hear their voices saying – You’ve saved the best until now!
Can we catch Mary’s urgency?
Can we run to Jesus and call out to Him – there’s emptiness here…there are needs and there are hearts aching for something more….something Better…and it is You, it is You who will make all the difference.
For He, Himself, has always been and always will be our best-of-all provision.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. -Titus 3:4-7