Saturday, 12 April 2014

How to be obedient right to the brim

"His mother said to the servant, 'Do whatever he tells you' ... Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water.' And they filled them to the brim." (John 2.5,7)

There's something quietly beautiful about the fullness with which these servants obey Christ's command here. There was no need to fill these jars to the very top; in fact, if they were going to be used for washing, you'd think that would likely create even more mess as the water spilled everywhere. But they've been told to do "whatever he tells you," and they throw themselves into doing just that.

The result?

Wine flowing even more fully than would have otherwise been the case. A miracle stretched to its fullest extent. And interestingly, John stops to note later in the story that, although no-one at the feast knew where the good wine had come from, "the servants who had drawn the water knew." In John's Gospel, knowing is an extremely rare gift. Most folk are portrayed as being unknowing, uncomprehending, hence the fun with word-plays, double meanings, misunderstandings and confusions ("How can a man be born again?" "Where will you find this living water?" etc) To know what Jesus is doing is extraordinary in this Gospel - perhaps, then, it's Christ's gift to the servants in gratitude for their whole-hearted obedience. After all, it's precisely that obedience that demonstrates friendship with Christ (John 15.14), and it's those friends who come to understand what the Father is doing through Jesus (15.15).

For my part, I want to learn to be this whole-heartedly, simply, and quietly obedient too.

Image: Walter J. Pilsak via Wikimedia

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