Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. – John 2:7
As a child in Sunday school, I learned about Jesus’ first miracle: he turned water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana.
I’ve heard the story many times since, but I never noticed a key detail until I read the account in John 2 again several days ago.
When Mary bid the household servants to do whatever Jesus asked of them (John 2:5), the servants not only obeyed Jesus, but they went the extra mile, filling each waterpot to the brim.
Also important to note is that Scripture records the number of waterpots, and the volume each could hold.
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. – John 2:6
Google says that one firkin is roughly equivalent to nine gallons. If each waterpot held just two firkins, simple math shows that the servants had to draw at least 108 gallons of water!
What’s not mentioned in Scripture is the number of servants, or the location of the water source. How many servants could have been spared from serving at the wedding feast? Did just a few tote all that water from the village well? How many trips did it take? I wonder.
In any case, I think it would be safe to say that the task took a significant amount of time and effort – even more so because the servants did not stop until each waterpot was filled to its capacity.
Commentator David Guzik points out that the servants might have missed the blessing of being part of Christ’s first miracle, had they fulfilled Jesus’ request half-heartedly or incompletely, or refused him altogether.
Yet, because they fulfilled his request to their uttermost, they were able to witness Jesus turning plain water into delicious wine.
I like to imagine them sharing their role in the event with friends and family later.
“That wonderful wine had nothing to do with us, really,” they might have said. “We just did what Jesus said, and he turned the water we brought him into the most delicious wine we’ve ever tasted!”
What a comforting, uplifting thought! God doesn’t ask us to perform miracles ourselves. He knows our limits.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. – Psalm 103:14
He asks only that we faithfully, fully obey him, bringing him our best efforts – day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.
If we become apathetic or disobedient, we will miss out on all that he could have done through us.
But if we trust and obey, we can look forward to seeing how God can use our faithfulness for his glory.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. – John 2:9, 10
Do you ever have to remind yourself that God doesn’t expect miracles of you? I certainly do! I welcome your thoughts in the comments.