Whatsoever He saith unto you, Do it!
© 2021 C. O. Bishop
We have looked at the Wedding Feast at Cana a couple of times now… we have examined God’s Purpose in Miracles, and we have examined what God has to say to us about marriage…but we still haven’t touched on two other important things. Verse 5 has a treasure for us, and verse 9 has a related treasure.
1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew😉 the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
We briefly pointed out, two weeks ago, that this is the only command Mary ever gave in Scripture. She is granted no special authority, though she enjoys a most blessed status as the Mother of the Lord: Even before Jesus was born, Mary’s older cousin, Elizabeth, recognized her as the Mother of her Lord. And the baby in her womb, six months along, leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. (Now, how do we know that he wasn’t just kicking? Or that he wasn’t startled by the noise, or something else that is commonplace and mundane? The way we know that it is true, is that when Elizabeth made this statement, she was filled with the Holy Spirit—under the Holy Spirit’s direct control: she was not speaking of her own accord! Luke 1:41-45 tells us the story:
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
All these things really are special, and joyful, but Mary also experienced great tragedy in her life. She was prophetically warned of that coming grief, when Jesus was only a few days old, by an old man named Simeon, in Luke 2:34, 35.
My point is that, in spite of all the blessedness and uniqueness of her position, she was never given any special “pull” with God, and no authority. She herself admitted her own need for a Savior, in Luke 1:47…She was a sinner saved by Grace, same as each of us. She did have the privilege of bearing Him, nursing Him, and watching Him grow to adulthood, to emerge as the Lamb of God! But no one prayed to her…no one crowned her “Queen of Heaven,” or any other such thing, and she would have been horrified to know that such things would one day be said of her. So, when she “nudged” Jesus, telling Him the party had run out of wine, she was banking on her special relationship with Him, but He let her know that the choice was His, not hers. So, she turned to the servants of the household and issued her only Command: “Whatsoever He says to you, do it!”
Whatsoever He says to You
Could that have any application in our lives? “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it?” Have you heard His voice? Can you read His Word, and not “hear His voice?” He is speaking, still today, if we are willing to listen. The Bible is literally the written Word of God. Jesus is literally the Living Word of God, and He is given that label more than once in the New Testament.
The Person with whom Abraham chatted while he fed Him beef, bread, butter and milk was Jesus, in one of His preincarnate appearances! Hebrews 11:3 confirms that the Word of God created the World. And Hebrews 1:10 records God the Father, speaking to God the Son, and confirming that God the Son created the Heavens and the Earth! How does that make you feel about the Bible, which is the black-and-white written representation of the Living Word of God? If Jesus is speaking to you (and He is) through the Word of God, doesn’t it follow that you should be deliberately taking time to read it, and to learn to understand it, so that you, like those servants, can do whatever He says?
Mary’s only command happens to also be the most frequent command in the Bible: “Obey God!” So, what might happen if we learned to walk with Him in obedience? Would everything just be happy and easy, like some people teach? Not necessarily!
Those servants obeyed: they hauled the water…a lot of it! And water is heavy! Scholars tell us that those stone pots each held between 20 and 30 gallons…and there were six of them: that means they hauled between 120 and 180 gallons of water, not knowing why they were doing it. Water weighs 8.33 pounds per gallon, so those poor servants, already tired from their work, were called to haul between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds of water, not even counting the weight of the jars or water skins or buckets, they used to haul it.
And then, they dipped the water into the wine containers that they were to carry out to the ruler of the feast: they obeyed! But the next morning they were still lowly servants. Except that, something had changed: Those servants, and Mary, and the disciples, were the only ones beside Jesus who knew what had happened. There was a special blessing for them: a secret joy they shared. They had hauled the water, all right, but He had changed their water into wine!
Turning our Water into Wine
There are going to be some people who have a problem with this passage: I have personally known people who vehemently insisted that “It was grape juice! Jesus would never have created wine!” Their reasoning included the supposition that He was a Nazarite (as was John the Baptist), and couldn’t drink wine…but He said, “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said he was demon-possessed: the Son of Man comes eating and drinking, and He is accused of being a winebibber and a glutton!”
Besides, in Psalm 104:14, 15 the scripture tells us that God provides food for us, and wine that makes glad the heart of Man” So, that is what Jesus was doing! The word here in John 2 is “oinos:” exactly the same word as in Ephesians 5:18 where we are warned not to be drunk with wine. (It was wine! Deal with it.) Now, I can’t easily relate to any of that because I can’t stand the taste of alcoholic beverages, for which I am grateful, as it means it is never a temptation to me. And there are many in our society and elsewhere who overindulge in alcohol and it is a huge social problem. And it has been since the beginning of time. Noah started a great tradition almost 3,500 years ago: He went for a long cruise on a ship and when he got off the boat, he got drunk…on wine! Sailors have been doing that ever since! (By the way, the Hebrew word for what Noah drank is “Yayin:” the exact same word used in the Psalm we just quoted.) So, the wine isn’t the problem: our propensity for misusing it is the problem.
Water to Wine?
So, how can this part apply in our lives? If we are a bunch of teetotalers (as I am) is there any application for us? Or is this verse just for people who like wine?
Let’s consider: Is Wine necessary for our survival? Of course not: it was given by God as something special to “make glad the hearts of men.” It is one of the thousands of things that God did not need to do for us, but He did it as a gift. (Yes, I understand the danger therein! Many of His gifts can be wrongly used…but we aren’t going there today.) But Water is absolutely necessary for our survival. So, why didn’t He just leave it at water? Why provide alcohol at all? He already explained that! It was to “make glad the heart of Man!” And that fits with the party Jesus attended.
Let’s back up to another story: In the Book of Ruth, Ruth and others were gleaning in the field of Boaz. They had a legal right to do so. The Law required that if the reapers dropped stalks of grain, they were not allowed to pick it up: it was left for the gleaners. And they could not reap the corners of their fields…that also was for the gleaners. But Boaz commanded his servants that when Ruth was near them, they were to drop extra handfuls of stalks of grain on purpose, so that she would have a good harvest! That was pure Grace! Was it necessary? No! The story of Boaz and Ruth is a picture of Christ and the Church! And Jesus does not just give us the minimum: He pours out His Love and Grace to those who love Him and who walk with Him.
That is what Romans 8:28 is about! 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If we walk with God, and are looking for His “fingerprints” in our lives, we will learn to find them: He has big hands and He leaves His “fingerprints” everywhere for us to find, in answered prayer, in special Grace by which to overcome the trials of Life, and in the secret Joy of simply walking with Him in Fellowship. He turns our “water” into “wine!”
We thank Him for our daily bread, and humbly trust Him for our sustenance: but He invites us, in Isaiah 55:1, 2, saying “1Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”
He says this is not going to be a barren relationship: He will provide joy to the believing heart and grace by which to live…even in hardship, in famine, in disease and even in death.
All we have to do is take personally the command, “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!”
Walk with Him…that is pretty much the bottom line. Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
John 13:34, 35, Jesus gave us a new commandment by which to walk: “Love one another, as I have loved you!”
If you want God to turn the “water” of your survival needs into the Wine of His Joy, you need to learn to walk with Him, in faith and obedience. That is what those household servants did, hauling a half-ton or more of water, by faith. They filled those pots to the brim, it said. And their reward was the secret joy of having seen the first Miracle Jesus did in His earthly ministry.
The Joy we receive can often be shared…but still, only believers will receive that joy. You can share it with unbelievers and it will be a very strange thing to them. They may be attracted to that joy in your life and become believers, or they may accuse you of hypocrisy, as the pharisees did toward Jesus and the disciples. Either way, the Joy can be yours, if you are willing to patiently walk with Him.
Lord Jesus, lead us into a transparent walk with Yourself, and teach us to look for the Joy You supply in life. Open our hearts to the teaching of Your Word and the leading of Your Holy Spirit. Draw us along to see the transformation You have promised.