When the Wine Runs Out
THE ENJOYMENT OF THE WEDDING FEAST
The enjoyment at that wedding was high; everyone was excited and happy and there seemed to be plenty of wine. Actually nothing on earth is a more joyful occasion than a wedding. Everyone celebrates; no one is unhappy--it is the beginning of a new life, it is the continuation of human existence.
Traditionally a marriage feast always has wine, lots of wine--even the feast itself largely depends on wine. And so it was at the wedding in Cana of Galilee to which Jesus of Nazareth was invited. They were enjoying the wine; the future looked bright; everyone was excited and full of joy. It seemed as though it would never end, when all of a sudden--the wine ran out! (John 2:1-3)
Today our human life is just like that wedding feast at Cana of Galilee. There is, no doubt, some real joy in human living. We have material things, our family and friends, and other types of pleasure. Sometimes there is real excitement, the future may look bright, and there seems to be plenty of "wine" to drink.
Wine, we know, comes from grapes, and grapes grow from something living. The Bible uses wine to signify life, especially the enjoyment of life. The "wine" of our human life, our human enjoyment, is just like the wine at the wedding feast of Cana--it runs out. There is a limited quantity. When we reach the last drop, that is it; there is just no more.
Even before we physically die we experience the wine running out. Human enjoyment is fleeting--it is real, but it is running out. Sooner or later in every situation, in every relationship, in every type of human pleasure, the wine runs out. Our family, so dear to us, one day is gone. Divorce or separation may come, and our husband or wife, once the perfect match, is no longer with us. Our friends, with whom we've shared so many enjoyable times, slowly drift away. Our college days, so exciting, are soon ended. Our profession, perhaps challenging and rewarding, one day, too, comes to an end. In every human achievement, pleasure, and joy--the "wine" is slowly running out. And eventually our own life, regardless of how successful or joyful, is over. In this "wedding feast" which we all live in today--the "wine" is running out.
JESUS COMES TO CHANGE THINGS
But Jesus was invited to this wedding. This shows us that the Lord came into the world, into a situation where human enjoyment existed but was not lasting. The changing of water into wine was more than just a miracle. It was a sign showing us why Jesus came into the world.
At that wedding there were six empty waterpots (John 2:6-7) signifying man, created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:27,31). Actually, man is just like this, an empty vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7). The Lord commanded that the waterpots be filled with water. These pots were ordinarily used in the Jewish rites of purification, which involved an outward washing, a practice of the Jewish religion. The Lord used these pots filled with water, to show us something. In the Bible, death is signified by water (Genesis 7:23-24; Romans 6:3). The six waterpots, filled with water, show how all men, though in a situation where there is some enjoyment, are actually just vessels slowly filling up with death.
From the beginning, God's intention was to fill man with His life (Genesis 2:9), but sin entered into man before this could happen (Genesis 3:3,6) and filled man with death (Romans 5:12), just like the water that filled the six waterpots. God never intended that man experience death. Death came as a result of sin, but God would not allow it to occupy man forever. That is why Jesus came. Man's dead religious practices, merely cleaning him up in an outward way, could never change the death occupying him on the inside. Only Jesus Himself, coming into us, could change our inward death into inward life.
As the verses in the Gospel of John show, Jesus commanded that some of the water in the stone pots be drawn out and brought to the ruler of the, feast (John 2:8). When the ruler tasted the water that was made wine, not knowing it had been water, he exclaimed, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when they have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; but you have kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10). Jesus changed the death water into wine--something far superior to the poor wine that had run out.
RECEIVE THE BEST LIFE
Actually, our human life is just the poor wine, inferior in quality and quickly exhausted. We want it to fill us, but it leaves us unsatisfied. We drink a little more, but we still feel a thirst. We long for a sweetness, but the taste remains flat, and all the while, we see ourselves beginning to die, as this poor wine continues to run out. Is the new wine, the good wine, any different? The ruler just needed to taste it, to see that it was indeed different. This was the wine that came from God. It is the best wine. It signifies the Lord's own life, the divine and eternal life we receive in Jesus. In this life our pleasures and enjoyment will never end. Even as the ruler of the feast discovered that the new wine was better than the former wine, so we too shall find that the life we receive in Jesus is much better than our natural life. This new life is best because it is the life of God Himself. When we receive this life, a marriage feast begins that will never end.
There is a way that your death can be changed into life. Today Jesus is present. He is in this world, a place where human joy is quickly fading, and He is here wait-ing to change your death into life. We may think that some kind of religious practice will make us acceptable to God. We may offer Him a cleaned up version of ourselves, but it is still the same poor life. No, this is not the way. Regardless of what our life may be like now, in God's eyes it is full of death and running out. The Lord Jesus is here to change your death into life, not just a continuation of your poor life, but new life--the best life, the life of God Himself in Christ Jesus.
You can receive Jesus right now. He is waiting to fill you with the life of God. Open to Him now by praying in this way: "Lord Jesus, thank You for changing death into life. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins and being resurrected. O Lord Jesus, I receive You right now, come into me and fill me with Yourself. Lord Jesus, change my death into life. Amen. "
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Scripture quoted from The New Testament, Recovery Version © 1985, 1991 Living Stream Ministry. Used by permission.