Empty Vessels

John's gospel records a wedding celebration attended by Jesus, his mother, and a few of his early disciples. You may know the story, but as the celebration went on, the wine ran out. In those days, the host of the celebration would have been devastated to realize they had 'under-planned' for such an event. Weddings were a big deal, with most likely the majority of the community celebrating such an event. So, how did the host 'run out' of wine? We don't know the 'why', but we know he would have suffered great embarrassment if such a thing had of been known to those in attendance. I wonder how many times we have been saved from 'great embarrassment' when our 'wine jugs' ran dry because of our 'under-planning'?

Standing nearby were six stone water jars...each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (John 2:6-10)

Sometimes we glance over this story of the 'first miracle' of Jesus, but there are some definite truths here that we should likely ponder a bit. First, we see the jars. The jars were empty, but they were readily available. The wine had been stored in some other form of 'wine jugs' or 'flasks'. These were empty water jugs that were used to hold water for 'ceremonial cleansing'. Jesus always uses what is available to him. If we remain available, though we are 'empty' right now, he will use us for his glory. Second, we see the obedience of the servants. It was immediate and without questioning. Availability is one thing - unconditional or unquestioning obedience is another! Jesus asks us for both.

We may not always know what Jesus is about to do in and through us, but when we respond with obedience, we can be assured he will do great things. We may not see what he is doing, as these servants likely did not have any idea the water was about to become wine, but if we are bold enough to do as he says, when he says it, we are positioned to see great things happen! The servants knew they had brought him water - they also saw the reaction of the host when he tasted the 'fine wine'. Imagine carrying a jug of about thirty gallons of water to Jesus, then taking a scooper of it to the host, only to see something 'transformational' happen between the well and the sip! 

Jesus is all about doing 'transformational' thing in us - he is also using us to do 'transformational' things by being living testimonies of his power and grace. How? By taking the steps of obedience he asks. The best for the last - this speaks volumes about HOW God often works in our lives. We see little hints of what he is doing - small changes occurring - but then at some 'end point' we realize how HUGE of a work he has done. Available servants, willing to respond in obedience to the 'weirdest' or 'silliest' of things he might ask will see his glory revealed right in front of them. What was once empty is now filled with much more than we ever imagined possible. Just sayin!

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