Whenever I read the account of the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), I always want to laugh. Mary is there. Jesus and his disciples are there. The wine runs out. How embarrassing!
Mary involves her son in this problem that’s really only an embarrassing social miscalculation, hardly important in the grand scheme of things, and Jesus protests, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” In other words, “This isn’t why I’m here.”
Mary shrugs off his protest in the way only a mother can do by turning to the servants and saying (you just have to hear a mother’s bossy tone), “Do whatever he tells you.” Like I said, I always want to laugh because she puts her son, the Son of God, on the spot. Her actions are driven by good intentions, but also show that at the time, she didn’t fully understand Jesus’ role on Earth.
Jesus rises to the occasion with his typical graciousness, turning the awkward social situation into a teaching opportunity. Let’s see what we can learn:
1) Creating the wine is a metaphor for what happens to us as we are changed from something ordinary into extraordinary new creations. Take a look at the water pots first; the water pots were handmade from stone, unique in size, shape, and color, as different from one another as any six people you might meet on the street. We, too, are handmade by God, chiseled to our own unique “shape”, made in so many different sizes and colors that not one of us is identical to any other.
We are ordinary water pots UNTIL we come under the authority of Christ. Then, with the help of the Spirit, we become “spirit” dispensers. We don’t change much on the outside, but what we carry on the inside is changed completely, and our purpose in life is changed completely as well.
2) The use of the wine is also a metaphor for how God uses us. Just as the wine was dispensed at the wedding for toasts and blessings for the new family, we too are poured out to bless the world around us, everyone God has invited as guests to the wedding feast (that’s everyone). The miraculous part of this conversion is that our contents are meant to be poured out immediately.
Maybe I’m taking the metaphor too far, but see if you don’t agree. If we don’t fulfill our purpose–if we hoard the spirit without pouring it out for others–our contents may change. Like wine turns into vinegar and becomes sour and unpalatable, our contents can change from a blessing into a curse, not at all what the wedding guests are expecting! The wonderful blessing of God is that we can be poured out every day, and we will be renewed every morning.
3) The last thing I want to point out is that Mary’s advice is still applicable to us today: “Do whatever he tells you.” The implication is clear; we should do what Christ tells us to do, no matter how hopeless or silly or uncomfortable it seems to us. Things like:
- “Don’t worry.”
- “Turn the other cheek.”
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
- “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them…”
- “…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”
We start out as vessels of water, and after Christ is done with us, we become vessels full of the Spirit of God, our gift from Christ.
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