When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Much has been said, and many words written, about Jesus’ first miracle– the turning of the water into wine at the wedding of Cana. Why was this first miracle a miracle that put Jesus in the position of a caterer? Why not a healing? What did the disciples think? Was it really wine or just grape juice? And so on.
But I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anybody look at this account from the perspective of the waterpots.
What was it about those waterpots that made Jesus decide to use them? People used the water in them for washing their hands and possibly their dishes. They were common. Utilitarian. Probably not very clean. Why didn’t Jesus call for golden pitchers or silver goblets for the fine wine He was making?
The waterpots were close to Jesus.
The wedding Jesus was attending was in a small town, in an average home. It was likely that the hosts didn’t even own goblets or pitchers made of silver or gold. If they did, they certainly didn’t own enough large ones to hold all the wine Jesus was about to make. Gold and silver containers would have been far away in a palace or a wealthy home. The waterpots were close to Him, ready and available.
The waterpots had a great capacity for being filled.
We’re talking 120-180 gallons here. Your bathtub holds about 60 gallons when completely filled, so this would have been the equivalent of two to three completely full bathtubs of wine. Pitchers and goblets wouldn’t cut it.
The waterpots were willing to get dirty so others could get clean.
(Ok, so I realize I’m anthropomorphizing, but just go with me for a minute.) Those waterpots stood there year after year providing clean water for dirty people. They didn’t consider themselves too good to be used for handwashing. They didn’t pick and choose how or when they were used. They just stood there and fulfilled their purpose thanklessly, without complaint that they were being used or getting dirty. They were willing to take on a humble task, and Jesus took them and did a great work through them.
The waterpots were usable.
When Jesus told the servants to fill the waterpots with water, no one said, “Oh no, that’s the good china! You can’t use those!” The waterpots themselves were accustomed to being used. That’s what they were made for.
The waterpots also didn’t put up a fuss when Jesus wanted to use them for a new purpose. They didn’t say, “We’re too old to change,” or “We’ve been doing this for years. Who are You to tell us to do somethng new?” They were at their Master’s bidding.
What about us? Sometimes we want God to do great things through us like He did with the waterpots, but we don’t want to be like the waterpots. We want to be gold pitchers or silver goblets. We want to be special, not humble. Pretty, not getting dirty. Served, not serving. Our way, not His way.
Are you close to Jesus?
Do you, through prayer and study of the Word, have a great capacity for being filled?
Are you willing to get dirty so others can be cleansed by the gospel?
Are you usable?
Maybe “going to pot” isn’t such a bad thing after all.