“B-b-but…” I stammer, knowing I will lose my job – and maybe more.
My eyes are wide, but Mary’s son just smiles and nods, pointing toward an important man in the crowd who is holding out his cup, calling for wine. But we have no wine. We bought all we could afford, and already it has run out, and that’s that.
I swallow hard, knowing what comes next. The man will be angry. My boss will be ruined, his family shamed, and so I guess I’ll be losing my job either way. I take a deep breath, put on a tense smile, and walk toward him.
The flask in my hand is full of water, drawn from a large urn I just filled, because – after feeding all these people for days – water is all we can afford.
It is the wedding feast for our young lady, and she deserves better than this. Always so kind to us who serve, from when she was a little child. I see her across the way, radiant in her joy, unaware of the disaster about to fall.
As I sift through the noisy crowd, my mind is racing. There is such trouble for us and so little rejoicing, living here in the shadow of Rome. I glance once more at our dear young lady, who in her father’s decline has endured so many sorrows. And now this.
When I shook out the last wineskin and watched the last few drips plink into a half-empty cup, I took the bad news to our mistress. She clutched the towel she was using to wipe the table, her hands writhing in anguish.
“Whatever shall I do, Levi?” she gasped. “There is no more anywhere?”
“None, ma’am. I’m sorry. Not anywhere.”
Her friend Mary was standing nearby. She turned with an imploring look toward her son and told us to do whatever he said. Our mistress looked at me, nodding emphatically, and soon we had filled six large water urns to the brim.
It was not my place to ask why, but it occurred to me that the young man might not quite understand the problem. Still, there was something in his face – something wise and friendly – that made us obey.
“Now, Levi,” he said. “Fill your flask from the urn and take it to that thirsty, well-dressed fellow over there – the one so earnestly searching for you.” He says this with a smile as if there is a secret joke between us. I am not usually in on the joke, not with important guests anyway, and I wonder if this first time will also be my last.
I stammer a protest, but his smile prods me. Trembling, I approach the man and tilt my flask; startled by the rich scent and deep red color of the water I send twirling into his cup. He raises it to his lips, blinks in surprise, closes his eyes again as if savoring something mysterious.
I stare at the rapture on his face and realize I had been holding my breath – and also realize we have been given our lives back.
“Where is your master?” he exclaims when he opens his eyes, raising the cup to his nose and breathing deeply. “And why in the world did he wait so long to… Who made this, by the way? Where did you find it?”
“The river,” I think, but I do not say it, savoring my chance to be in on the joke. I bow and turn away, trying to maintain a dignified expression, but my old heart is skipping with joy.
Six large urns we filled to the brim! Who is this Jesus, who can change water to wine? Who stands quietly aside, changing our fear to rejoicing? Who hides his miracle from the strong but shares the secret with servants?
Our dear young lady smiles as I pass and touches my shoulder in her kind way, still unaware of the disaster from which we are delivered.
At LIFE International, we honor Jesus, who brings light to those living in darkness. We often remember that Jesus came to teach and to redeem us by his sacrifice, but he also came to bring joy.
This story is a dramatization of an event recorded in John 2.
There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest…
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
“We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life, and that he is full of joy. Undoubtedly he is the most joyous being in the universe. The abundance of his love and generosity is inseparable from his infinite joy.”