My favorite thing about being out of school is how alive the Word of God has come. Now don’t get me wrong… this doesn’t mean that it was dead when I was in school. You would hope that it wasn’t dead, right?! When I was in school a majority of the revelations that I had about the Word of God came from a combination of a book AND the Word of God. We were always supplementing our reading of the Bible with Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries and other books because well… that’s what you do in school. This wasn’t bad. It was actually great to be able to see what other people had to say and there were a lot of “Ah Ha!” moments. But when I graduated there was something that happened. I actually couldn’t take reading any of these for at least 6 months. My brain would shut off as soon as I picked one up so I took to just reading the Bible. And over the past 10 months I have found that the Word of God has come alive in a way that it never has before.
I will be reading scripture that I have read probably 100 times before and all of a sudden it will make sense. God is always speaking and His Word is always alive but sometimes it takes relying solely upon Him and His word to grasp just how alive it is.
Now why do I say all this? Was that my main point? Nope! I just want you to understand where I was at last night when I was at Life Group. We are reading through and discussing the Gospel of John. They have been meeting for a couple of weeks but this was my first week and we read through John 2. And this is what we read:
“On the third day a wedding took place in Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’ ‘Women, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied, ‘My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 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, through 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.’ 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.”
Now there are a couple of things that make you stop and ponder about this passage… why does Jesus tell his mom that the hour has not come but still do the miracle? Why was Mary so adamant that He could do anything to begin with? Was this really His first miracle? And what stuck out to me… why did this small miracle reveal His glory and cause His disciples to believe Him?
If you take this story at face value it doesn’t seem to hold much it’s just an account of another miracle that Jesus performs during His ministry BUT there is more than meets the eye with this story, as with most of what Jesus does. Our first clue of why this isn’t just an ordinary story lies in this line: “Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing…” When I read this last night for the first time ever I noticed the type of water jars that Jesus had used.
Ceremonial Washing Water Jars.
You see if you look back in the Old Testament God instructed the Israelites on how to live to stay pure and part of this had to do with ceremonial washing. The idea behind it all was that there were different things in life, be it activities that you participated in or things that happened to you that caused you to become unclean, and to become clean again and be allowed into the House of God you had to go through ceremonial washing. I learned last night that there was a difference between water that was provided by human effort and water that was provided by God. The water that had to be used for ceremonial washing had to be considered provided by God, it had to be living water. But… if water provided through human effort was introduced to even a drop of living water it all became living water. Interesting, right? Well hold onto that for a moment.
So… Jesus used ceremonial washing water jars and turned that water into wine. He used something that allowed the Jewish people to become ceremonially clean and thus come into the House of God and turned it into wine. Not any type of wine though… the very best and most choice of wines. But get this. The point of Jesus turning the water into the wine wasn’t just to have more to drink. The point of Jesus turning the water into wine was to reveal who He is. You see, Jesus saw wine as representing His blood. Matthew 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins…” The point of the miracles was to turn what they used to become clean under the Jewish law into what would make them clean under the new law… from the “living water” to Jesus’ Blood… who truly is the Living Water of Life.
“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.” Jesus was revealing who He was, the true Living Water that would once and for all cleanse us of our sins. This was His glory that was revealed; it was this and only this that brought His disciples to believe in Him.
It is rather fitting on this Good Friday night to be reflecting on the first miracle of Jesus that John records and what it revealed out Jesus. It is His blood and His blood alone that cleanses us and allows us into the House of God. Without the Cross and Easter we would still be seeking out living water for ceremonial washing….
Thankfully… as the hymn says, “What can wash away our sins…
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”