Short Meditations in John 2: 5. Nothing is as it seems
Jn 2:6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons
We look at the world around us and we think we know and understand it. This is a brick wall and you can’t walk through brink walls. This is water and that is all it is. We know how things work. But that is just the material world that God made and what God made He can change. With God,. nothing is just as it seems. At one point in the Gospels Jesus, and then Peter, walked on water, but you can’t do that because water is liquid and liquid won’t hold a man – but it did. Here is a blind man and blind me stay blind – except not when they encounter Jesus. Here is a dead man and dead men stay dead – except not when they encounter Jesus. No, when God and Jesus step into the equation, everything is not as it seems, everything is up for grabs!
So John gives us some simple information about the ‘material conditions’: “Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.” (v.6) They are empty jars and so, “Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.” (v.7) So here we have big stone jars full of water. No questions and no doubt about it. If any clown tries to explain it away by saying Jesus imported good wine, a) where would he have got such wine from at such short notice and b) wouldn’t the steward of the wedding have done it if it was possible, and c) how could that volume be got into the house without others seeing and knowing. No, stone jars – and water!
So there it is. Nothing strange or unusual so far – except Jesus getting the servants to fill jars with water. Why would he want to do that? Incidentally, in passing, note that Jesus has become involved and is doing something, though it is a strange something. Note also there are no prayers, no speaking special words over these jars, nothing out of the ordinary happening! But watch!
“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.” (v.8,9) What? Where did that come from, that last little reference to wine? Was the water changed into wine in the jars or was it as they drew some off? Were the servants aware of this and if so, why weren’t they making a big fuss about what had just happened? Whatever it was, it was a miracle!