When I left the military in 1994, I went to work as an electronic technician for a Canon Office Machines dealership. My initial job responsibilities were to go to business locations to repair copiers, fax machines, and printers. After some time, the owner divided our service techs into ‘road technicians’ and ‘in-house technicians’. I became an in-house technician that prepared new machines to be delivered and refurbished used machines that had been traded in.
My favorite job was refurbishing the used machines. They basically got gutted to the frame. I replaced bushings and bearings, belts, rollers, lamps, drums, etc. By the time I was done, nearly everything under the plastic covers was in new or ‘like-new’ condition. On the outside, the machine looked the same (other than a good cleaning) but on the inside, it was brand new.
I love today’s text about the wedding story in Cana. Partially because of the multiple themes, but also because I’ve been to the site where this wedding was believed to be held. During my Holy Land trip, we toured a church in Cana that is believed to be built over the wedding location. Archeologists have found artifacts that point to this story and have pieced together one of the large stone water jars that stands as high as my chest. Having stood in the potential location of this Biblical text creates a new and deeper perspective of the story.
Consider the situation. Jesus and his disciples have been invited to a wedding ceremony. Mother Mary is also in attendance. It is the third day of a week-long event. Everyone is having a great time when suddenly the banquet hall staff noticed that they have not ordered enough wine for this thirsty group. Mary heard through the whispers about the problem. What will happen if people get wind that the bar has closed in the middle of the celebration? So Mary goes to her Son and asks if there is something he can do. According to the Gospel of John, this is the first miracle that Jesus would perform. And he needed some nudging to go through with it.
“Take those 6 jugs and fill them with water.” These aren’t a typical water pitcher or even an Igloo cooler. These so called jugs contained 20-30 gallons. We don’t know what Jesus said or did. He simply told the staff to draw some out and take it to the manager. When the manager tasted it, he said not only was this good wine, but it was the BEST wine. Nobody but the staff involved knew that these jugs were filled with water which had suddenly become not just wine, but the best wine.
Large ordinary water jugs filled with ordinary water on the inside, suddenly had an internal transformation. The average water was now the best wine through the work of Jesus. Here began the revealing of His glory.
Through the internal refurbishing process, used office machines became new creations. In John’s wedding story, plain old water was transformed into top of the shelf wine. And through Christ’s love and forgiveness, dark, fearful, and hopeless hearts, minds, and spirits are transformed into light, peace, and hope.
Though our bodies may not change (and yet they may), the presence of Jesus in one’s heart makes an obvious change in a person’s very being. May the transformational peace, joy, and love of Christ be evident in the things you do and words you say. And may your hope be centered on the only One who has the power to transform. In His eyes, you are not just another individual; you are a personally loved child of the King. Amen.