Lavish Extravagance

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Preparation had been underway for months. The food. The music. The wine. Weddings are no small events.

Once the family sent invitations, they thought of nothing but wedding prep. Friends and family lined up to cook, clean, and serve. Maidens were selected to help the bride, and a special friend attended to the groom’s needs.

Torches lined the parameter of the area so that once lit, they could provide light for all seven nights of the feast. Those in charge of meal preparation selected the finest lambs and the best stall-fed calves to grill slowly for tenderness. Musicians and dancers were reserved. The family placed stone water pots at the entrance, so all could purify themselves upon entering.

Finally, the groom could send a second invitation indicating the ceremonies’ commencement. Perfumed and finely-dressed guests paused at the water pots before entering the festivities. They dipped their hands in the water to ceremoniously cleanse themselves from any contact with animal sacrifice, sexual relations, or even the possibility of skin disease. No one was exempt. Despite washing the night before, today meant a further need for purification.

Night after night, guests returned home only to return the following day. Day after day, the water in ceremonial pots diminished through use, spill, and evaporation. As the containers slowly emptied, the water that remained stagnated.

You know the story. The waterpots weren’t the only containers that ran low. With time left in the festivities, “The wine gave out” (John 2:3). But rather than filling the wine casks with water, Jesus instructed the waterpots to be refilled.

His extravagance, which has scandalized conservative commentators for hundreds of years, is noteworthy. With each vessel holding between 27 to 39 liters, Jesus’ miracle produced between 1000 to 1600 glasses of wine. His super-abundance proved far above the need, probably giving the family leftovers.

In the Old Testament, Moses’ first miracle turned water into blood. Here in this new era, Jesus turned water into wine. Matthew Henry states, “The curse of the law turns water into blood…the blessing of the gospel turns water into wine.” Although these stone containers had never held anything but water, they were instantly stained purple. They would never be the same.

Although we are only earthen vessels, Jesus’ Presence changes our chemistry. We are sprinkled wine-red with His blood and chosen to obey (1 Peter 1:2). Despite the flaws in our pottery, a Power beyond measure is working within us (2 Corinthians 4:7). The larger the cracks, the more clearly His Light shines forth (2 Corinthians 4:6). When He appears, transformation happens, for His Word always changes things (1 John 3:2).

“Holy Father, thank You that Your standard of measure is lavish and outrageous. You love a cheerful giver because that is who You are (2 Corinthians 9:7). You specialize in going above our highest prayers, deepest desires, grandest thoughts, and wildest dreams (Ephesians 3:20 Amplified). Open our eyes to see all that You are.

I suppose that somewhere, buried deep underneath the arable soil of Galilee, lies the stained evidence of six waterpots that once held wine. Your Word marked them forever. When choosing these vessels, You used the emptiest receptacles You could find. I surrender my emptiness to You. I’ve run out of wine (John 2:3). Fill me to overflowing and distinguish me with a renewed visit of Your Presence. I pray this, utilizing the authority of Your extravagant Son, Amen.”