When someone believes in you, it’s amazing the confidence it gives you, and what you can do. And when you believe in another person, imagine what confidence that can give them. It’s love in action.
I’m mulling over the reading we had in Church recently telling of Jesus at a wedding in Cana, when he turned the water into wine (John 2:1-11). It’s what might have been going on ‘behind the scenes’ that has captured my imagination.
I’ve been imagining the conversation between Mary and her son, Jesus, as they walk to the wedding. By now, several of Mary’s younger children will have got married, and she’s probably a grandma. Maybe she’s letting Jesus know (again!) that a good wife will help him no end, in whatever demanding but as yet unclear path lies ahead. “So look out for nice girls today. I met your father at a wedding.”
Jesus tells her he doesn’t have time for marriage. Things are starting to happen – now he’s been baptised by John and people have started following him like a Rabbi.
But Mary thinks that makes it more important than ever to have a wife. But she always finds these conversations difficult on her own and misses her husband Joseph who could talk man to man with Jesus.
When Jesus asks his mother not to embarrass him at the wedding, he’s mostly thinking about how she might try to set him up with a girl. “Priscilla may not be in the first flush of youth, but she’s still lovely and such a hard worker. She’s always been sweet on you. I know it’s different for a man but you are 30. You’re not the catch you were.”
So a few hours later when the wedding’s in full swing, and Jesus sees his mother making her way purposefully over to him, he thinks he knows what’s on her mind. Then he sees she’s dragging a couple of servants along with her, and he’s ready to disappear. What can she want? He suddenly becomes aware that he’s standing there with his mouth open, having been totally distracted while in full flow to his friends, who are now looking curiously at him.
“Excuse me a moment” he says and takes a few steps away from his friends just as his mother reaches him. “They’ve run out of wine, Jesus.”
For a moment, Jesus is carried away to his childhood. His mother used that look and that tone of voice when people brought broken furniture to his father to fix. They would come to the house and leave a broken table with his mother. She’d bring it to the workshop behind the house where Jesus was helping his father and say, just in that tone of voice: “Here’s a table for you, Joseph.” She had total confidence he could fix it.
A cacophony of voices spoke in Jesus’ head. He heard his own voice trail off as he complained: “Woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come!.” He knew he had to fix it. And his mother seemed to know it too. “Do whatever he tells you,” she said to the servants and took a step back.
Jesus felt a thrill of excitement, and a surge of confidence. He could do this. He was born to do this. Somehow he knew exactly what to do next. It was so crazy he laughed out loud. Fresh water was almost as difficult to find as wine, but when he asked for it, the servants kept bringing it until the big stone jars were filled.
Once or twice Jesus looked at the vast quantity of water and wondered if he’d have been better off starting with a few glasses. But he drew confidence each time he looked at his mother, who was watching him with pride and joy as if it had been his wedding day.
And the wine was exquisite. For a while nobody but the servants and his disciples knew what had happened. But that didn’t last long. Not at a small village wedding.
Many hours later as they left the party, Mary couldn’t stop herself from asking Jesus “Did you dance with any nice girls tonight?”
Jesus smiled in a long-suffering sort of way. He looked at her guilty expression.
“I think we’d better all go down to Capernaum for a few days tomorrow” she said.
“Why’s that?” said Jesus.
“Why do you think?” said his mother.
“Because the wine dealers will be upset with me?
“Because people will be queueing up at our house with jars of water?”
“See! You don’t know everything yet. I invited Priscilla’s family round to our house tomorrow.”