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Jan 16

Water into Wine

Sunday’s Gospel tells the story of what is believed to be Jesus’s first public miracle. At a wedding, he turned water into wine. Yep. Here’s the account of one of the servants at that wedding. Oh, you know what I mean. It’s what one of the servants MIGHT have felt, thought and said. His story is in the historical fiction book Who is Jesus? Can you imagine being a first hand witness to this miracle? How would it have changed your life? Let me know!

His Secret Changed My Life

Household staff hear gossip of the entire region almost before news reaches heads of those households. Rumors of some man named Jesus who traveled throughout Galilee teaching on the Holy Scriptures were rampant. Many people considered themselves his followers, even those who used to follow John the Baptizer. The shift in loyalty miffed some of John’s disciples. I heard that John actually encouraged the shift and called himself a follower of Jesus. I hoped for a chance to discover the attraction.

Before Ephraim’s birth, his wealthy father employed me. Ephraim grew up to be a righteous man, which made my transition to him as master easy. Soon after our move to the dwelling attached to his father’s house, he planned to begin his own family.

Ephraim’s small staff worked for weeks to prepare for his wedding feast. We gathered pomegranates and almonds, pressed olives, stuffed grape leaves, made sure there was enough wine on hand, brought in the lamb, and much more.

Because my master and his betrothed came from large families, we delivered many invitations to the joyous event. As the people arrived, my concern mounted that we might not have enough food and drink since, unlike his father, Ephraim was of humble means.

From the bride’s home of Nazareth came a widow named Mary, a distant relative. I was assigned to serve her son Jesus and his friends. What good fortune! I sought him out right away. “Teacher? More wine?” He looked directly into my eyes, as though I were an equal and the only person present. I couldn’t force my eyes to glance away. He spoke to me as a friend, which made me feel warm inside. Somehow, the heavy workload of the celebration became light.

On the morning of the eighth day the bridegroom introduced his unveiled bride to the guests. The consumption of food and wine increased as the happiness of the guests heightened.

The next day, my worst fears came true. A worried murmur hummed among the servants. “No more wine.”

“Were we irresponsible?”

“Did we waste the provision?”

We were afraid to tell the steward. We knew we’d be punished, whether or not we were the cause.

Within moments our plight reached the women’s celebration. How do the women always know what’s going on whether or not they’re directly involved?

A few minutes later, the mother of Jesus approached me. “Is it true? There is no more wine?”

With my eyes cast down, I trembled and hoarsely whispered, “Yes.”

Without another word, Mary made an about face and headed to the men’s section.

Back at the entrance, I gasped at the scene before me. The bridegroom looked up just as she reached Jesus. But my master said nothing.

I entered the celebration and acted busy by gathering empty platters. Whatever does she intend? I have to hear what she says to him.

“There’s a problem with the wine. They’ve run out.”

“Woman, why trouble me with this?” Jesus questioned her curiously. “It’s not my time yet.”

My mind whirled as I scurried to my station. What did that mean? I reached my friends and turned to see Jesus behind Mary. They walked directly toward us. I had an urge to run. Or bow. Fortunately, I kept my head and stood tall.

She didn’t smile as she measured her words to us, “Just do whatever he tells you to do.”

He pointed to six stone jars that stood nearby. “Fill them with water,” he gently commanded.

The jars were used for the rites of purification, and could each hold twenty to thirty gallons. We scampered out with them and filled them to the brim. Stunned with wonder, we didn’t breathe a word as we returned and set them before Jesus.

“Now,” he said with a smile, “draw some, and take it to the steward.” He chose the servant with the longest family affiliation for the task: me.

Careful not to allow my shaking hands to spill the water, I served the steward. Now I really wish I could close my eyes and run. My head felt like someone slapped me dizzy, and my breath caught when he looked at me, alarmed. He signaled for the bridegroom to join him. I have surely lost my job.

“Everyone serves the best wine first,” the steward told Ephraim. “Later, after the guests have had plenty to drink, they serve the cheaper wine. But you have saved the best wine until now.”

What did I just hear?

The bridegroom raised the cup slowly to his lips. He sipped. He smiled as he lowered the cup and glanced quizzically toward Jesus, who had re-joined his friends. He must remember that Mary called Jesus from the party.

“Serve this good wine, then.” It was his only response before returning to his celebration.

From that day, I learned all the news I could about the teacher named Jesus of Nazareth. He knew something that I intended to discover. Thankfully, my master shared my quest. It was only a few years before we were honored to learn his secret that changed us completely, like water into wine.

Based on the story in John 2:1-11

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