Fill the Waterpots with Water -- and Fill them to the Brim!

    By Jeremy Monday, April 26, 2010

    This past weekend I was fortunate enough to hear Bishop Angaelos of the UK speak at St Mark & St Abraam Coptic Church in Long Island, NY.

    What a beautiful church! Various events of the Bible were depicted by angelic stained glass windows adorning the cathedral. Although it was a cloudy, rainy day, the delicate artwork still managed an alluring glow in its own unique way.

    One in particular seemed to catch my eye the most. I somehow managed to sneak in a quick snap with my iPhone camera (excuse the sharp cropping, I wasn't very successful because I didn't want to be too distracting). This window illustrated the Wedding of Cana in Galilee, where our Lord Jesus Christ turned water into wine as the beginning of many signs to come.

    Without realizing, I found myself meditating on the seemingly simple verse etched on the window:

    "Jesus said to them 'Fill the waterpots with water.'"
    (John 2:7a)

    Why? Why did he have the servants fill the waterpots with water? Surely the Creator of the Heavens and Earth didn't need the starting point of water to create wine. Why make the servants go and fill the waterpots with water?

    I read the story over and tried to put myself in the servant's shoes sandals...

    So, you know when certain people have a "commanding authority" over a room? Something about their body language, their posture, stance, the look on their face or the way others are constantly glancing over for approval or support in one thing or another. It's just something about them, a presence unlike any other that commands the attention and confidence of the room or situation at hand.

    I believe Jesus had that characteristic about him and I'm sure the servants had no idea what to make of the seemingly simple request to fill some waterpots with water. I know for myself I'd probably be thinking something like, "umm... okay? But dude, seriously, we need some wine up in here and pronto! Filling some waterpots with water doesn't make too much sense right now. Maybe we can fill some old wineskins with water? Mix it up a bit and hope the water mixes in with the dried wine. I mean, sure, it will taste watered down -- like really really watered down -- but I'm sure it'll be more wine-ey than putting water in waterpots will ever be! Ugh, whatever, this guy does seem pretty confident after all. Alright, fine, let's do this."

    So fine, we fill it. I mean we fill it -- to the brim! I've never seen so much water in a waterpot in my life. They're usually like a quarter filled, maybe even half-filled, I mean nobody ever wants to fill it all the way. That's just crazy! It'd be too heavy if you did that. There's no way you'd be able to carry it (it holds 20-30 gallons!) But whatever, worry about that later, take it one step at a time. I'm just gonna super-size his order to the max! I mean, these waterpots have water in them, boy!

    We drag them over, of course spilling some along the way -- there's just too much water. Puddles form and "Caution Wet Floor" signs are being put up (only to be ignored, of course). But there you go! Every waterpot we could find, filled to as much as we could fill them. It's actually a pretty nice sight to see. We're actually kinda proud of what we did. I mean, yea, we didn't really solve anything but dude, there's a lot of water here right now... a lot of water.

    Actually, this is pretty lame. It's just water...

    "Draw some out now and take it to the master of the feast." he says. Uhh... what? I'm pretty sure he's going to notice we're just serving him some water. It doesn't matter how you serve it, it's still just water...

    Fine, I'll do it. But this is crazy, man. No sense whatsoever.

    I dip some out ... it certainly smells different. It kinda stings the nostrils... I can't see the color too clearly, it's really dark because of all this mood lighting or what-have-you, but something is definitely up... I hope this water wasn't dirty or anything... I mean I'm about to serve this to the master of the feast. If this stuff is funky he'll have my job!

    I look over and he's obviously not happy on account of there being no wine left. I'm used to his moods, but I can tell he's really annoyed this particular night...

    I'm shaking right now. I mean, I can feel it, I can feel something. I can't tell if it just got really hot or really cold but I definitely do not want to be here right now.

    I cautiously approach the master of the feast with the glass I drew and before I could say anything he snatches it out of my hand. I can finally make out the color against the candlelight as he lifts it up to his lips... no way! It can't be!

    He smiles, almost laughing and yells heartily toward the bridegroom, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"

    It's wine! I can barely control myself, my heart is pounding! I mean, this guy has no idea what just happened. Jesus just turned water into wine. He took what little I had and turned it into wine so good it made the feast master shout with joy!

    God asks us to fill our waterpots with water -- to the brim -- everyday. Trusting that He will make it good. If we put forth our best efforts in everything that we do and as long as we do it following His will and His commandments, He will take over and make it more amazing than we could ever imagine.

    The whole idea of service intimidates a lot of people, myself included. How could I, feeble minded as I am, share the enormity and glory of God with those around me? All I have to offer is a whole lot of nothing -- a whole lot of water. But God will turn it into something! God will turn your nothing into something magnificently glorifying to Him. As long as I can humble myself and follow His path, no matter how difficult it may be, or how many excuses I can find not to do it, if I somehow manage to drag that heavy waterpot filled with purity and humility in water, filled to the brim with everything I have, and set it at His feet and leave it to Him... He'll work miracles!

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