John.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 aside10 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.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
Imagine it’s a posh dinner with your boss and you in-laws coming around for tea, and you are about to serve up some coffee, and you realise you’ve run out!
What do you do?
What you probably don’t do is wring out your bathmat and fill up their cup from your foot-spar (if you do, I’m not coming to your house for dinner!!)
But on one level this is sort of what this story is all about!
It is something of a Salvation Story… Let’s look at it together.
It starts with a problem which in and of itself is unsolvable without someone intervening…
The wine has run out, and there is going to be a rush on, and shame, dishonour and disgrace are going to fall on the hosts.
Then Mary says say “Do whatever he tells you”.
Which would be okay, if he didn’t ask you to do something weird like fill up stone water jars for foot washing (they would be disgusting, muddy and generally grotty), and then draw
some water out and give it to the wine taster (presumably your boss, or least a pretty senior servant).
The wine taster tastes the ‘wine’, and judgement should follow.
After all the servants know the wine isn’t wine but water.
It is not good enough to serve.
It is substandard and will probably result in someone’s dismissal.
…and yet at the critical moment when they should have been condemned for their inadequacy of serving filthy water instead of wine a transformation had happened…
They don’t get what they deserve, anger, judgement, dishonour, shame and exposure, they get what don’t deserve praise and acclamation.
A miracle had happened.
By the intervention of Christ, something that was watery failure became a sign (as wine was) of God’s transforming love, his goodness and his provision.
In many ways this is a little like our lives.
We know we are not good enough for God.
We are watery failures at times, with murky patches and maybe the odd toenail floating in our lives.
When we come before the judge who knows his footwash from his choicest wines, we get what we don’t deserve, we may not have been good enough, our wine maybe substandard, but due to being in Christ everything has changed.
We are not good enough, but by faith in Christ, taking that risk and that step of faith through his cross and resurrection, all our watery failures are absolved, we are cleansed and transformation occurs from heavens perspective on our lives.
“He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might have the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When we come to Jesus a transformation happens, we who were once objects of wrath, God’s enemies and far from him, the moment Jesus steps in we become friends of God, his children, beloved, forgiven and restored.
The issue is are we prepared to risk it all on Jesus, knowing that on our own devices we are doomed, but with him our only chance for vindication.