Remembering Cana: 28 February 2015

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Duccio di Buoninsegna The Wedding at Cana. 1308-11

Mark 14 12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ 13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, “The Teacher asks: where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”

Isaiah 44

‘Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offences like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.’

23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel.


Do you know how the disciples knew which man to look for, carrying which water pot, on which Jerusalem street? Put yourself back in Jesus’ world. Any man carrying a water pot would stand out, for men in those days rarely carried water. Women carried the water pots. So a man carrying a water pot would be quite easy to spot.

In spite of his anonymity, this man carrying a water pot became a key player in the final events of Christ’s life. In this way the story of the water pot is much like the tale of the borrowed donkey in yesterday’s reading – an earthly "unknown" becoming eternally unforgettable.

Water carriers do count with God. The gospel of grace is largely the stories of water boys and fallen women. In short, the gospel is the tale of little people surprised to find themselves engulfed in the great plan of God. Like this unsuspecting water carrier, they found themselves centre-stage in God’s unfolding drama of redemption.

This water carrier doesn’t seem to be looking out for God, when he stumbled upon Jesus’ disciples and was swallowed whole by the purposes of God. That is grace.  He thought he was going out to perform some menial, minor task. En route he discovered God’s kingdom.


Lord, I remember when my life was consumed by eating from little menus, running small errands, and keeping small appointments. Were it not for your love, were it not for your reaching into my one-dimensional world, were it not for Easter, I might still be lost in my trivial pursuits. Thank you, Lord, for engulfing me in the gigantic purposes of your grace.