THE WAY OF THINGS
“When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:3-4
Some may find Jesus’ reply to his mother as shocking, and depending on your tone as you read verse 4, I can see how you might perceive it as such. I have a different perception though. I am a mother of a son. When I read Jesus’ and Mary’s banter, a smile comes to my lips. You see there was a time Landry would playfully rib me and call me “Woman”. Now mind you I didn’t always find this salutation as an endearing response from my son. In fact there were at times, that term would flat out wear on my last good nerve. I must confess, I have exploded and surprised Landry with the force of my anger as he addressed me as “Woman.” But now… Those memories bring back good times. I smile and quite truthfully I miss that term of endearment from my son. It is the way we worked. He would needle me, pushing me to a near breaking point and I soon learned to show no weakness. I got used to this salutation because I realized what he was really saying, “Mom, I love you.” This was the way we were with each other. It was the way our relationship worked. He would tease and I would give right back because we love each other and we trust each other. I know Landry respects me and if it is in his power, he would always respond to my requests. My two daughters never called me “Woman.” I don’t think it is in their DNA make up. They call me “Mom” and I respond. Different types of relationships but each with the same amount of love written into them. My mother/daughter relationships aren’t built around the teasing banter. We operate differently, just as my brother and I operate differently with my own mother. As I sit and reflect on their relationship, I see the same thing going on. I remember the ease with which my brother used to tease and goad my mom. My family still remembers the Flowbie haircut my mother gave my brother and because of their relationship as mother and son this haircut happened. No way would I allow my mom to give me a haircut with a vacuum loaded with scissors. I don’t think there would have been any comedy in this. I think, instead, there would have been a lot of tears on both sides. Mother’s and son’s relationships just work on teasing playfulness. My own husband has a way with his mom that his two sisters would never try. He tells her and encourages her to try new things. He pushes her to go past her comfort zones. My daughter has two sons. There is just a way they treat their mom that is different compared to their dad. The amount of love is the same in each relationship but the care and input is different. With their dad, it’s all rough and rowdy. They climb, wrestle, and tackle their dad, but their mom they hold in high esteem. More often than not their go to answer, “My momma says…” Now, my baby boy is about to have a baby boy of his own. This boy will also have a different relationship with Landry than he does with his mommy. Different types of relationships with same amount of love written into the cadence of each DNA.
This is what I think about as I read Jesus’ words, “Woman, why do you involve me?” I hear my own son playfully call me “Woman.” The Greek text reads, “Dear Lady.” Dear Lady. He was calling her a term of honor. Mary was a lady in every sense of the word. The definition of lady is – a woman of superior social position. It denotes a woman to whom homage or obedience is due. There had been a season in Mary’s life where there were whisperings and innuendos circling about her character. Many must have tried to count the months between her marriage to Joseph and the birth of her first born son, Jesus. She had risen above all that slanderous garbage and now she is a force to be reckoned with. She was in her element. She was helping with her relatives wedding and she was not about to allow humiliation damper this couples jubilee. She had a relationship with the One who could cure this disaster. Based on this pre-established relationship, she approached her Son. She knew where He had come from. She had first-handedly witnessed Jesus growing in wisdom and stature both with God and man. She had seen him surprise the Pharisees and the Teachers with His wisdom and knowledge though He was but twelve years old. She knew this man named Jesus. He has been her Son now for thirty years. She has called Him child. She had a love relationship with Him before He ever performed one miracle. So she calls on Him now. There had to have been a tone in their exchange that we are not privy to these thousands of years later. We can read the words but their tone cannot be inflected onto the page. We have to add it. That is why I read Jesus’ reply with playful teasing. Otherwise, how could we go on with Mary’s instructions to the servant’s, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus never agreed to Mary’s request. We may even read negativity into His response. When, Jesus asked, “Why do you involve me?” Mary translated it “Ok. I will do what you wish.” This is what you said, but this is what you meant type of dialogue. Because of their love relationship, Mary knew Jesus would respond to her request positively.
I think that is one of the reasons I love Jesus so much. He had a dry sense of humor. He makes me smile as I read His conversations with people. He had a way of bantering back and forth with those who plunged into dialogue with Him. He didn’t mind their requests. He welcomed them. And more often than not His reply and response was a test of their endurance and persistence in their need. I wonder if that is what He is doing with His own mother in this situation? I think He knew He was about to perform His first miracle. I think He had gotten the go ahead from His Father. I think He even knew how He was going to create wine from water. I think He knew He was about to validate who He was to His new friends. I think His response to Mary was just His way of stimulating and activating her faith in Him. That is what I think. What do you think?
No one will ever have a mother/son relationship with Jesus. That position was filled long ago, but we can have a different type love relationship with Him. He calls us friends. He calls us family. He calls us loved. And he tells us come with persistence. Approach Him with our every need and don’t give up. Because of His great love for us He wants to fill our stone jars with the new wine of His blessings.