More than a dozen years ago we were working in a war zone in Northern Uganda. It seemed there were needs all around us. No amount of resources could seemingly meet all the needs that were represented by these precious people. Murders, abductions, mutilations and many other atrocities by rebels forced nearly 2 million people to flee their homes with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs. We often found ourselves praying figuratively that our “two fish and a few loaves of bread” would be enough as it passed through the Father’s hands.
A few months ago I was drawn to Jesus’ first miracle. Each day I read and re-read the story. Why then? Why wine? I am not a theologian and still have many questions but I was encouraged by a few observations.
Jesus used what the people already had. The stone ritual washing pots had already been placed outside the wedding hall. The guests had all washed upon entering so presumably much of the 120-180 gallons of water had been used but evidently more water was nearby. Jesus simply asked the servants to repeat what they had done before, to fill the pots with water. Jesus simply asked the servants to repeat what they had done in preparation for the wedding, to fill the pots with water.
Then Jesus asked them to do something that had never been done before. The servants were instructed to fill their serving pitchers and take it to the host. Can you imagine with me what that walk from the stone pots to the host was like? I imagine the servants were nervous and perhaps even afraid. The servants knew they were carrying water in a pitcher to the host who was expecting wine.
When the servants poured the liquid into the hosts’ chalice, did it still look like water? Scripture doesn’t tell us when the water became wine, but what we do know is that the host declared that it was the best wine!
When the disciples distributed the fish and bread to the multitude there is no indication in scripture that the multiplication took place before they began. They gave what they had and then more appeared as they served the next person.
We are all very aware of what we lack. Jesus is very aware of what we have. He takes little and makes it much. He takes what is ordinary and makes it extra-ordinary.
What ordinary task are you doing that God wants to bless to make it more than enough? A simple phone call may lead to a salvation. Your words of encouragement may open hearts to hear the Good News. One more time…fill the jars with water again…pray for healing one more time…be obedient one more time…trust again, hope again, believe again.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”