John 2:1-12 The Wedding at Cana
How should we pray?
Jesus told us in the Lord’s prayer how to pray. But he also tells us in this story of the wine running out at the Cana wedding
Usually, of course, wine running out would not be an emergency. At a dinner party when the wine which the host has opened runs out, its generally a bit of a sign that the evening has come to an end. Apparently in Paris, French hosts who want their guests to leave say ‘would you like an orange juice?’
It may not be an emergency to run out of wine in a normal social occasion, but at a wedding, it is most definitely an emergency.
So much of who we are is tied up in a wedding: There is the question of the host and hostess showing off their daughter to the guests, particularly the friends and relations of the groom. The guests might think: who are these people who cannot even honour their daughter by providing enough wine for the celebration? Something to be discussed for weeks or months: the host becomes a laughing stock in the community. It’s an emergency if you run out of wine at a wedding!
Some have speculated that Mary might have had some catering role at the wedding and thus we have the interesting exchange between Mary and Jesus in verse 3. “They have no wine” – Simple and direct, stating the problem to Jesus.
You see there are a number of different ways she could have said this: She did not say ‘Jesus will you quickly go out to the off licence and get some more wine for them’. Well possibly the shops were closed but remember a wedding could take a week, in those days. But nor did she say ‘Jesus will you get on the donkey, nip home and raid the family cellar to provide them with some more wine”. OK so Cana is about 6 miles from Nazareth so that’ s possible in an hour maybe two hour round trip on a reasonably fast donkey. She doesn’t say find out which neighbours have some wine stashed away and then go and get it….None of these things.
She simply presents the problem to him: ‘They have no wine’
Is this how we pray?
You see, one of the the biggest problems in our relationship with God as Christians is that sometimes we treat him as if we are Godnand He is the genie in the bottle: do this, do that; I want my three wishes! No, no, no
God is God….and not us.
We need to give him the choice as to how he solves our problem. He is the one with the eternal perspective. He can see what one solution will lead to over time as opposed to another.
So if the problem is: I am worried that my granddaughter will fail the interview, the prayer should not be ‘please may she get this job/ university place, whatever. But should rather be, ‘please Lord may your will be done, please help her do her best’
If the problem is: ‘I don’t have enough money’, the prayer should not be ‘please may I win the lottery’. But should rather be, ‘please Lord may I be able to pay my rent, counsel tax etc this month’
We just have to present the problem and leave God to sort out the solution in his discretion.
So if the problem is: ‘my friend is sick’ the prayer is not that this drug or that drug makes a change…but that God will work through whatever means doctors, drugs, miracles whatever to bring them back to health.
And in the story of the miracle at Cana, we see how Mary says to the servants (verse 5) ‘Do whatever he tells you’.
As we do the simple things that he tells us to do: the filling of the six stone water jars
with water, this enables Jesus, the Son of God to do the incredible thing of turning water into wine.
As we give room in our prayers for God to act in his unpredictable and supernatural way and do what he tells us to do, then the most astonishing things start to happen.