My interest is piqued by these six stone water jars. The details of John chapter 2 are minimal until you come to the description of these jars. We do not know who the bride and bridegroom are. We do not know what color the bride chose for her flowers. We do not know what song was chosen for the Father Daughter Wedding dance. We don’t know the name of the host. These are all things I would have included as I wrote a newspaper description of my daughters’ weddings. Not John. What John does give in detail is the description of these stone jars. His description of the stone jars is so detailed giving us evidence that John was an eyewitness to this event.
What of these stone jars? Jesus used them simply because they were available. Ordinary stone jars seen in most Jewish homes and especially Jewish festivities, like the ones we observe in John chapter 2. Six stone jars sitting off to the side of the vestibule. Out of sight, out of mind. Ordinary purification jars were familiar objects amongst the religious Jewish people. They were such a common sight not much observance was given to them, but Jesus notices them. Jesus has use of them. He needs them to solve a problem.
An intervention is needed. The wine had run out. Mary had come to the One who could change these dire circumstances. I wonder had Jesus been eyeing these six stone jars before His mother had ever explained the problem to Him? Did He already have in His mind a way to remedy the lack of wine before she approached Him?
“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water” so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:6-10
Our attention shifts from the dialogue of The Son of God with his mother and the disturbing issue at hand i.e. lack of wine, to the six stone water pots sitting nearby. How imaginative and creative is Our Lord. Jesus, who through Him the earth was formed from nothing, is now about to create wine from water. He did not create wine from nothingness as In the Beginning, but Jesus took vessels that were used for ritualistic washing among the Jewish culture. These stone pots had no magic cleansing powers. The water that was poured into them didn’t contain disinfectant chemicals that would wash hands thoroughly. In fact, every dirty hand that came to that wedding had been dipped into these pots. Jesus did not destroy these useless vessels, but Jesus took ordinary vessels that had no intrinsic use and recomissioned them. He changed them into vessels that would bless all who attended the wedding. These six pots were seemingly innocuous water receptacles, possessing no inherent cleansing or blessing power at all. These jars were all about religious activity, but the pots were not destroyed. They were filled with something absolutely superior to the water they contained.
The setting is a wedding, but the descriptive detail is in the jars. They are standing nearby as mother and Son are discussing. There were six of them. They held twenty to thirty gallons. They held water for ceremonial washing, but their impotence lies in the fact that they could not wash internally and create joy. For this wedding feast to have so many, the couple probably would have borrowed from their neighbors. The wedding couple joined them together to alleviate a water shortage among the guests. These six stone pots sitting nearby were filled and overflowing with abundance were used to intervene and create a victory over a nagging social issue.
Have you ever considered that we are like those jars? In the bible the number six symbolizes the number of man and our incompleteness apart from God. Religion and religious practices cannot produce joy and true cleansing for us. Only through a relationship with Jesus can He create in us wine from water. We are stone jars just sitting nearby to be used by Him. He wants to bless others with the best but we must make ourselves available to Him. We do have the wine of blessing poured into our lives. Just like those six stone pots we need to join together and pour out godly wisdom and blessing into a crazy and dysfunctional world.
“However we possess this precious treasure, the divine Light of the Gospel, in frail, human vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
Inside every child of God we possess the wine of blessing. We are filled to overflowing. The Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change disturbing social faux pas and world events that are passing before our news tickers minute by minute. The shortage of wine was relieved by Jesus’ intervention. The shortage of common sense and godly wisdom in our country and in our government can be relieved as we allow Jesus to fill us with the new wine of His covenant.
We are just like my stone pot filled with the color of the rainbow that helps add beauty to my backyard. We have the grandeur and greatness of God’s power inside us. We feel frail and human but we have dynamic, cataclysmic power bottled up inside of us. We have the power to beautify the topography of our country.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, seek my face, pray and will turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, forgive them their sins, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14