The sun sat just above the trees, …the music had played, …the mother of bride had cried,… and now the minister spoke, “Jesus, Himself went to a wedding, and blessed it with the first miracle, of changing water into wine.”
We have been to many weddings in the past few years. I have often heard this miracle mentioned when the minister speaks to the new couple. But as I sat at this wedding I had a totally new thought and realization of a deeper meaning in the picture this story paints for us.
Scripture is that way- so deep and layered and meaningful. Even a Scripture we have read and heard multiple times has more to teach us. It IS living and active.
The story of Jesus’ first miracle is found in John 2:1-10 and is a familiar story.
Jesus goes to a wedding and the wine runs out so His mother asks Him to fix the problem, because moms want to fix problems- even other peoples’ problems.
When Jesus has the servants fill the water jars with water I wonder what everyone was thinking? This was not the obvious solution to the dilemma. These were not even water jars for holding drinking water. They were special jars for holding water for purification.
The wine that came from the water that was poured into the purification jars was of excellent quality- the steward called it “the good wine”. The word for “good” can also mean choice and exceptional. Not the everyday wine. Not the cheap stuff, but the kind that is reserved for special occasions.
As I watched these two precious souls entrust themselves to each other I was struck that when we come to the marriage altar we bring our love for the other person and our good intentions. But that love is really an offering of water.
It gets poured into each others’ lives, but as all long-timed married couples know, the love you bring to the wedding, while wonderful and warm and lovely, will never be enough to get you through a lifetime of good days and bad days, of gains and losses, of triumphs and tragedies.
For that, your love must be transformed and multiplied. It must become the kind that is more about giving than getting.
It must become the kind that can bear all things.
That can believe all things.
That can hope all things.
That can endure all things.
But now we are no longer talking about a natural kind of love. Now we are talking about a supernatural kind of love. We are talking about a purified love.
What our love needs is a purification jar and Jesus.
In a recent ministry letter, a teacher I deeply admire, Dwight Pryor (www.jcstudies.com), wrote this about marriage:
Far more important than falling in love is the biblical mandate of growing in love, one toward the other. Only then can the highest goal of marriage be achieved: not satisfying personal desires, but sanctifying the name of God. If all this sounds more sacrificial than sensational, it should. Authentic love is never self-serving.”
Most of the “love” that we see in the movies coming from Hollywood is about what you get, not what you give. About if you are satisfied, not if you serve another. About finding “the one”, not about being “the one”. About finding a “soul mate”, instead of bringing to your marriage a soul satisfied and completed by Jesus.
So how do we move from self-serving love to authentic love?
Jesus speaks to us how we are to love one another:
Luke 6:32, 35: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them...But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back.”
John 13:34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
I John 4:19: We love, because He first loved us.
In other words, we need to have a love that moves from water to wine.
The water kind of love continually needs to be drank over and over because it does not satisfy for long- so it continues to look for ways to be fulfilled. Instead, what the water kind of love needs is to be poured in the purification jars and be miraculously transformed by the Lord who not only is the only One who can work the miracle, but also the One who showed us what sacrificial, authentic love is all about.
So the next time you feel your “cheap wine” love running out,
and when all you have to bring to replenish the wine with is water,
then give it to Jesus and let Him transform it into love of exceptional quality…into authentic love…into the “good stuff”.