From ordinary to extraordinary
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
- John 2:6-7
Why did Jesus choose these vessels for this miracle? He’s about to turn over 120 gallons of water into wine. He’s about to do his first-ever miracle. We’ll look at all of that tomorrow and Friday. But today we want to take a look at the “bottle” so to speak.
These stone water jars would have been large, heavy, and important. Guests at the wedding would wander over and wash before and after meals in order to preserve their ritual purity in the midst of the party. These stone jars would have stood as a reminder to everyone gathered of their continued need for cleansing, purification, and forgiveness.
For those of us who grew up Catholic or Anglican, picture the holy water font. For those who grew up Baptist, imagine the baptistery. For those with no religious background, call to mind the water cooler at your workplace or your doctor’s office. What would happen if all that water suddenly turned into wine?
The servants who were helping out with the project would have been the first to see it. Maybe they were nervous at first about what this religious guy wanted them to do with the ceremonial stone water jars. But what do you think they would have felt as they watched the cool, clear water turn into deep, rich wine? The air would fill with the fragrance of the wine and the Lord of all Celebration worked his first miracle. Excitement. Awe. Fear. Wonder.
Just as God can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, he can take the sacred and make it holy. The stone jars that previously carried a way to avoid defilement now carried an invitation to a prolonged celebration. The balance of the universe has shifted. The old rhythms of washing and sacrificing have been transformed by Jesus. We now have access to so much more.
In what ways might Jesus be inviting you to step beyond your holiday rituals and into a deeper, richer experience of him?