How We Saved a Wedding

This is for anyone who likes young people or thinks that being a follower of Jesus might be boring.  For anyone who wonders what history would have been like to be there.  For anyone who appreciates curiosity, imagination, and the art of depicting life and ministry as messy and weird and real as it might have been.  For anyone who understands that coming to know, love, or trust someone is a process and doesn’t usually happen in one experience, especially when that person is God. 

john 2: jesus turns water into wine


I can’t stop thinking about last night.

No, I didn’t meet a girl. You may not believe me if I tell you what I saw , but I’m going to tell you anyway.  Some weird stuff happened, that’s for sure.  It all started when the guys and I arrived to work a wedding.  

I expected to have a busy shift.  Big events mean a lot of food, a lot of drinks, and a lot of dishes to do. But, nothing about the rest of the night was predictable. 

Some man named Jesus was there and He had twelve guys with him.   People say that they have left their jobs to follow him.  I heard about His cousin, a preacher named John the Baptist.  He sounds like a strange guy who wears camel hair clothes and eats locusts and wild honey.  His preaching is really intense. A lot of people follow him, but he’s been telling them that they should follow Jesus instead.  

John thinks that his cousin is actually the promised Messiah from ancient prophetic writings.  Jesus looks like a regular guy to me.  I asked one of his followers named Philip about what they’re doing on this “mission” and he said he didn’t know yet. This group just formed recently and Jesus told them that they were going to a wedding together.  John referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  I don’t know what that means. They were nice enough guys, but personally I tried to stay clear of them.   I don’t want them taking anything from me and you won’t find me running away from my family to follow this guy around.

That said, I still can’t explain what happened right before my eyes last night at the wedding. He freaked me out, in a good way. Hardly anyone even knew that we did something miraculous when all that great wine came out. It was a freaking miracle, no doubt about it! And, to be honest, it’s really messing with me. It bothers me when I can’t understand something.

I was just doing my job, chillin’ in the kitchen, when I could tell something was wrong.  My buddy in charge of pouring had a long line of people waiting for a refill on their wine and he had a troubled look on his face then made some excuse up about needing to go to the bathroom.  He informed the guests that he would be back shortly, then he came and told me, “You ain’t gonna believe this, but they ran out of wine.”  It was early in the night, too, to make matters worse.  

We had a big problem.

Running out of drinks is a major no-no and we honestly didn’t know what to do.  You can’t throw a wedding and not provide enough wine.  That’s when this lady named Mary got involved.  She was Jesus’ mom and she told Him, “They have no more wine.”  I could tell Jesus had mixed feelings and wanted to stay out of it because He told her, “Why are you getting me involved?  It’s not my time yet.”  Not his time yet?  Time for what?  I don’t know what He meant, but He decided to help out anyway.

Mary came up to us and said, “Do whatever He tells you.”  We’ve known Mary since we were little and she is friends with my mom, so we listened to her.  I guessed that she would have us try to buy wine somewhere.  If the guests figured out the wine was gone, the family would be humiliated and the party would be a bust.  We had to do something, fast.

We looked at Jesus.  “Your mom said for us to do whatever you tell us.  So, what do you want us to do?”  

For the record, I hate being told what to do.

Jesus looked over and there were these six big ass water jars that hold twenty to thirty gallons of water they use for ceremonial washing.  He said, “Fill the jars with water.”  Now honestly, I have never heard a worse idea in all my life.  You gotta be kidding me, I thought.  That is not a small job and what are we gonna do with almost 180 gallons of WATER?  Oh my gosh, this Lamb of God is cray cray, I thought.  But there was Mary lookin’ at me with this Did you hear what I said? look on her face, hands on her hips, and I told her, “Fine, we’ll do it.”  

Pain in the butt, too, to fill all those jars.  But, we did it.  And we hustled.  We filled all six jars up to the brim with water, just like Jesus told us to.  The whole time I’m thinking: What good is this gonna do?  The guests are getting restless and we need wine.  Why are we wasting our time on water?  Then again, nobody asked me what I thought.

Jesus was watching us fondly as we worked.  I glared at Him more than once but he didn’t react. Philip and the other guys with him were asking him what he was doing and why He wanted water in the jars but He didn’t really answer them.  They stood watching, looking at each other with big eyes and you could tell they had no idea what was going on.  Well, neither did we.  But we kept working.

When the sixth jar was completely filled Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”  No.  He can’t be serious.  He wants me to take WATER to the Master of the Banquet when He is already stressed out?!  I’m going to look like an idiot, I thought. I hoped that I wouldn’t get yelled at, or worse. That sounded like THE DUMBEST idea I had ever heard, but there was Mary looking at me.  So, I did it. 

I wiped the sweat off my forehead and found a ladle.  I drew some water out into a carafe and that is when I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The water was red.  The water looked exactly like wine.  How did that water turn red?  I thought.  What in the heck is going on right now? I looked at my buddies to see if they saw what I saw.  They just noticed the same thing and so did the twelve guys with Jesus.  I shook my head and wondered what this red water would taste like.  I found the Wedding Planner in the crowd but didn’t tell him anything.  I just said, “Would you like to taste this?”

Taking the carafe, he smelled inside then poured a drink, swishing it around his mouth.  As he swallowed, a huge smile crept onto his face and a look of delight and amusement replaced tension and fear.  “This is absolutely delicious!”  he said.  “Good job, son!!!”

I smiled and started to feel better.

Immediately he ran to find the groom.  With a playful slap, he said, “You know, most people start with the good wine and then bring out the cheap stuff after everyone starts feeling it, but you have saved the best ‘til now.”  The groom just laughed and kept dancing as he pulled his bride a little closer.  His wife was pretty much gorgeous, not that I notice how hot other mens’ wives are.

I still couldn’t believe it, but there was no time to ask questions.  We had a lot of pouring to do and the guests began lining up right away to taste this delicious fine red wine and have their glasses refilled.  

This reception turned into the best night ever.

Jesus and his guys didn’t stay too long after that.  I saw that the group of his disciples was just as shocked as I was, and I bet they had a lot of questions for Jesus.  I wish that I could have gone with them to hear about how He turned that water into wine, but I had to keep working. I bet that their motivation to do whatever He tells them just went way up. LOL.

I must admit that Jesus is no normal guy.  We servants have to do what we’re told, but when Mary told me to do whatever Jesus said, I wanted to do it because I knew her and she knew Him better than I did.  When Jesus ordered me to fill those jars with water, I thought He was crazy.  All I know now, is that something cool happened because I did what He told me to do and I’m going to remember that night for the rest of my life.  The oil and flour are getting low at our house, and I’ve been wondering if He would come and do this trick for my mom, too.

You should definitely meet Him.  I don’t know if he’s the Messiah but He is an awesome winemaker and He saved the wedding, though the groom didn’t even realize it.  I’m not his follower or anything, but next time I hear He’s preaching, I’m going.  That ain’t normal, turning water into wine.  That was an extraordinary night! I’ve never met anyone else like Him, and I can’t wait to see what happens next time He’s around.

Sarah Barnes2 Comments