Preface: Jesus wasn't about to let a young bride's big day be ruined. True, the amazing miracle of turning water into wine signaled the beginning of his historic ministry. But Jesus had indicated to his mom that it was not yet time to go public with his supernatural signs, so why did he finally agree to intervene when the celebration ran out of wine? I believe he purposely came to the rescue of a family in distress on what was supposed to be one of the most joyful and memorable days of their lives. Jesus stepped in because he wanted the wedding to be a success!
"I had dreamed of my wedding day forever! My groom and I had been promised to each other since childhood. Now our year of engagement, filled with anticipation and careful preparation, had drawn to a close and the time for our grand and glorious wedding feast had finally arrived.
"I had fasted all day as required by our religious teaching, so I felt somewhat light-headed. So it took a lot of extra effort to concentrate while reciting the prayers of atonement as part of my preparation. Though I had shed some nervous tears earlier, I had to smile when the groom's messengers arrived at long last and I watched them lay out the garments and ornaments and perfume I was to wear. My dear groom had been so extravagant, I could hardly believe my eyes!
"As evening drew closer, I stood proudly as my friends dressed me in my exquisite bridal gown and fabulous accessories. We giggled as we reminded each other of all the times we pretended to be brides, using old cast-off clothing and little handmade accessories we had made out of whatever we could find. But this was the real thing and the air was filled with excitement. On this day, I was allowed to let my long hair tumble down my back, framing my face as we carefully positioned the crown of fresh myrtle leaves on my head. Over it all we placed the long white veil of betrothal.
"And then I waited until dusk turned to darkness...
"Meanwhile, with much joy and shouting, my groom and his friends had "searched" the village for me, a traditional part of the ceremony. Finally I saw the torches as they entered my parent's courtyard. "Come see the treasure I have found," my groom said as he lifted my veil and our eyes met. We walked out onto the street into a procession filled with music and dancing. My groom led me proudly to his house and into the room reserved for the women. Surrounded by my maidens, I ever so elegantly sat down on the special platform prepared for me. I was not accustomed to being the center of attention and it was exhilarating!
"I could see into the room where the fabulous feast was spread for the men. Everything was just perfect. My father-in-law was bursting with satisfaction. So many years and expense had gone into the preparations, and the wine, a key element and a measure of a host's generosity, had been given much forethought.
"A few hours into the joyous celebration, I noticed confusion among some of the servers. I was stunned to learn they had run out of wine! This was the ultimate embarrassment and disgrace to my family. I couldn't hold back the tears as they trickled down my cheeks and onto my lovely wedding dress, leaving stains on the most precious thing I had ever owned.
""Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mary of Nazareth quickly leaving our women's table. She spoke briefly to my father-in-law and then approached her son, Jesus the carpenter. Shortly after, I overheard Jesus tell the servers to fill up, right to the brim, the six huge water jugs lined up in the corridor. Then he told them to draw some out of one of the jugs and give it to the master of the feast. When he tasted it, the feast-master immediately took my groom aside and asked him why he had saved the best wine till last!
My groom and his father were stunned and speechless. Their reputations had been saved and the biggest day of my life didn't end in disgrace. Mary told me later that Jesus was at first reluctant to perform such a miracle because it was not time for his powers to be shown publicly. But he did it anyway. For us!
"In the days to follow, Jesus went on to do the most astounding things, healing people, raising the dead, comforting the sick and downtrodden. And how can we ever forget how he chose our wedding feast to begin his magnanimous and renown work and, at the same time, touch our lives in such a personal and beautiful way."
(c) Joyce Catherwood 2010