Recently I read this delicious little portion of ministry and I’ve been meaning to share it. It’s from a book on prayer and the portion I enjoyed is a commentary on the story in John chapter 2, when the Lord went to the wedding in Cana and changed the water into wine. If you’re not familiar with the story, basically it goes like this – Jesus is invited to a wedding, along with his mother and disciples. While they’re there, the wine runs out and Jesus’ mother comes and tells Him that there is no wine, obviously wanting Him to do something about the situation. His answer to her is “Woman, what do I have in this that concerns you? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) I was always quite puzzled by this reply. To me, it kind of sounded like something a teenager with attitude would say to his mom. Anyways, Mary obviously didn’t get the hint and goes ahead and tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says. He gives them instructions to fill the water pots with water and then to draw some and take it to the master of the feast. Upon drinking it, the master of the feast declares that wine to be better than the previous one.
So here’s the portion I enjoyed:
Marriage is the center of human life, and a wedding feast represents the pleasure of human life. The Lord came to the earth and entered into us in order to become the center of our human life and the pleasure of our human life. He did not come to ignore us or to be unconcerned with our affairs. He came to bear responsibility for our affairs. However, as a prerequisite, we must hand all authority over to Him and give Him full liberty.
The fact that the wine ran out means that something central and crucial was missing at the wedding feast. Since the Lord was there, He was surely interested in the feast. He would not stand by without doing something. Nevertheless, Mary, the Lord’s mother in the flesh, a person who represents us in our way of contacting the Lord, went to the Lord to propose that He do something. She did this with good intentions. In contacting the Lord we must beware that our intentions should not go before His intentions. (The Meaning and Purpose of Prayer, p 41)
First of all, I was encouraged that Jesus was at the wedding. I’m sure He was busy, teaching, preaching and healing people. But He took time out to go to this wedding, to be involved in something so common to human life. He wants to be involved in, is concerned with, and even wants to bear responsibility for all our human affairs. He didn’t skip out and say, “Sorry I have more important things to do, I’m here to carry out God’s will on the earth.” Yes, He’s here to carry out God’s will, but He does that by entering into our situations so that when we realize the “wine” has run out, He’s there to give us the better wine.
Secondly, because He’s concerned and wants to bear responsibility for our affairs, there’s no need for us to direct Him. Like Mary, I’m often quick to direct the Lord when I sense there’s a need in a certain situation. I pray for the Lord to do something and even offer Him proposals and advice on how He should do it. But His response to Mary at that wedding is clear indication that He doesn’t need our proposals or counsel. He knows our need better than we do and He has His timing and His way to meet it. We just need to stop directing, start listening and do whatever He says. If He says to fill the water pots to the brim, then amen, that’s what I’ll do, even though I don’t see how that helps the situation. If we all could learn this lesson when it comes to everything that concerns us – our marriage life, family life, work life, church life – I think there would so many more opportunities for the Lord to change our water into wine.