"On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."" - John 2:1-11, RSVLast week I wrote about feeling like a failure at motherhood. When I took some time in prayer, this passage came up and stopped me dead in my tracks. I've read this story more times than I can count, and yet when I read this translation, I noticed one word was different, and that different word, well, it made all the difference. "When the wine failed..." Not that the wine ran out, but it failed. It had one job to do: keep the party going, and it failed. As I sat and prayed with this scene, I couldn't help but imagine myself as different people at the wedding. Had it been my own wedding and we would have run out of wine...oh man, that would have been bad. End of the party, who drank all the wine, heads will roll, bad. But when the wine fails at the wedding at Cana, there doesn't seem to be a chaotic panic. The servants knew, but Mary simply tells Jesus what is going on. I read the passage and don't feel a sense of chaos, panic, or fear. Mary tells Jesus, He tells her that it isn't His time yet, and she tells the servants, "do whatever He tells you." Simple, commanding, and trusting. She knows her Son better than anyone and trusts - unconditionally - that whatever He says to do, no matter how outlandish it may seem, will bring about good. The servants, in turn, follow her lead, her trust in Jesus. He tells them to fill up the jars with water. Maybe it is because I spend my days with two toddlers, but I'm taken by surprise when no one questions Jesus. There is no, "water? Why water, Jesus? Didn't you hear your mother, we are out of wine." The servants do whatever He tells them, and from that obedience - stemming from Mary's command and trust in her own Son - comes even better wine than what was originally being served. We try so hard on our to do the very best things, to produce the best things, to be the best person, wife, mother, etc. we can be. So too did the bride and groom at the wedding at Cana. No doubt they and their families spent time and money planning what they hoped would be flawless wedding and reception, but on their own, they failed. But the beautiful thing is that it is in their failure that fruit comes forth. Had the wine not failed, they wouldn't have seen how much more their lives could be if not for Jesus. So we try and try in our own lives, until we fail. We realize we can't do it all - wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, worker, etc. - on our own. We fail. We are defeated...and then comes Mary and Jesus. Mary sees that our efforts have failed and she brings that fact to Jesus. He speaks, we follow (or don't, but that leads to an entirely different end to the story), and what we are able to produce, what we are able to be with Jesus filling our proverbial jars is even more bountiful, more joyful, more tasty, more glorious than when we were trying all on our own. Perhaps, then, our failures are in fact a beautiful opportunity, a chance to be filled by God, to realize that, no, we can't do it all on our own, but that life is better - and so much sweeter - when we work with Jesus.
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