The Waterpots at Cana

Weekly | Nov 17 2020
The Waterpots at Cana
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You know the narrative. Jesus was at a wedding feast, and when the wine ran short, He provided for it right bountifully. I do not think that I should do any good if I were to enter upon the discussion as to what sort of wine our Lord Jesus made on this occasion. Jesus Christ commenced the gospel dispensation, not with a miracle of vengeance, like that of Moses, who turned water into blood, but with a miracle of liberality, turning water into wine. And now let us think about our Lord’s mercy, and let the wine stand as a type of His grace, and the abundance of it as the type of the abundance of His grace which He doth so liberally bestow.

Now, concerning this miracle, it may well be remarked how simple and unostentatious it was. One might have expected that when the great Lord of all came here in human form He would commence His miraculous career by summoning the scribes and Pharisees at least, if not the kings and princes of the earth, to see the marks of His calling and the guarantees and warrants of His commission; gathering them all together to work some miracle before them, as Moses and Aaron did before Pharaoh, that they might be convinced of His Messiahship. He does nothing of the kind. He goes to a simple wedding among poor people, and there in the simplest and most natural way He displays His glory. When the water is to be turned into wine, when He selects that as the first miracle, He does not call for the master of the feast even, or for the bridegroom himself. No, He does it quietly with the servants: He tells them to fill the waterpots. He does not ask for any new vessels, but uses what were there, making no fuss or parade. He uses water, too, of which they had abundance, and works the miracle, if I may so speak, in the most commonplace and natural style; and that is just the style of Jesus Christ.

Now, whenever you try to serve Jesus Christ do not make a fuss about it, because He never made any fuss in what He did, even when He was working amazing miracles. If you want to do a good thing, go and do it as naturally as ever you can. Be simple hearted and simple minded. Be yourself. Do not be affected in your piety, as if you were going to walk to heaven on stilts: walk on your own feet.

Christ’s command

When Christ is about to bestow a blessing He gives a command. It is not always so; but, as a general rule, a word of command goes before a word of power, or else with it. He is about to give wine, and the process does not consist in saying, “Let wine be,” but it begins by a command addressed to men, — “Fill the waterpots with water.”  Here is a blind man: Christ is about to give him sight. He puts clay on his eyes, and then says, “Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.”  Christ issues commands to those whom He will bless.

Christ’s commands are not to be questioned, but to be obeyed. The people want wine, and Christ says, “Fill the waterpots with water.”  Well, now, if these servants had been of the mind of the captious critics of modern times, they would have looked at our Lord a long while, and objected boldly: “We do not want any water; it is a wedding feast.” But Mary’s advice to them was sound — “Whatsoever He saith to you, do it.”  Thus, too, let us neither question nor cavil, but do His bidding straight away.

Whether you can see the connection or not, it is yours “not to reason why,” but yours to do what Jesus bids you do; for it is in the way of the command that the miracle of mercy will be wrought. “Fill the waterpots with water,” though what you want is wine. Christ sees a connection between the water and the wine, though you do not. He has a reason for the pots being filled with water, which reason, as yet, you do not know: it is not yours to ask an explanation, but to yield obedience. You are, in the first instance, just to do what Jesus bids you and because He bids you, and you shall find that His commandments are not grievous, and in keeping of them there is a great reward.

Sometimes these commands may even seem to be trivial. The family were in need of wine; Jesus says, “Fill the waterpots with water.” This is the principle we want to teach you—that when Jesus Christ is about to give a blessing He issues a command which is not to be questioned, but to be at once obeyed. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.

Whenever we get a command from Christ it is always wisdom to carry it out zealously. He said, “Fill the waterpots with water,” and they filled them up to the brim. In fulfilling Christ’s commands, my dear brethren and sisters, let us go to their widest extent: let us fill them up to the brim. If it is “Preach the gospel,” preach it in season and out of season; and preach the gospel— the whole of it. Fill it up to the brim. Do not give the people a half gospel. Give them a brimming-over gospel. If you are to repent, ask to have a hearty and a deep repentance— full to the brim. If you are to believe, ask to have an intense, absolute, childlike dependence, that your faith may be full to the brim. If you are bidden pray, pray mightily: fill the vessel of prayer up to the brim. If you are to search the Scriptures for blessing, search them from end to end: fill the Bible-reading vessel up to the brim. Christ’s commands are never meant to be done in a half-hearted manner. Let us throw our whole soul into whatever He commands us, even though, as yet, we cannot see the reason why He has set us the task. Christ’s commands should be fulfilled with enthusiasm.

LET US SEE HOW TO CARRY OUT THIS DIVINE COMMAND, “Fill the waterpots with water.”

Use in the service of Christ such abilities as you have. There stood the waterpots, six of them, and Jesus used what He found ready to His hand. There was water in the well; our Lord used that also. Our Lord is accustomed to employ His own people, and such abilities as they have, rather than angels or a novel class of beings created fresh for the purpose. Now, dear brothers and sisters, if you have no golden chalices, fill your earthen vessels. The commonest gifts can be made to serve Christ’s purpose. Just as He took a few loaves and fishes, and fed the crowd with them. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Nobody ever yet served Christ too well.

Trust in your Lord to do the work. Jesus Christ Himself must come, and in present power must work the miracle. It was because He had commanded the servants to fill the waterpots with water that therefore He was bound, if I may use such an expression of our free King, bound to turn it into wine. If, after we have filled the waterpots with water, Jesus does not work by us, we shall have done what He bade us.

But remember - The servants filled the waterpots: the Master turned the water into wine. The Lord grant us grace to be obedient to His command.


Excerpted from the sermon titled “The Waterpots at Cana”  (John 2:7) by CH Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 26. You are encouraged to read the full text of the sermon from