saving the best for last | John 2.9-10
When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” John 2:9-10 | ESV
And when the head caterer got a good taste of that water – water nothing! it had been turned into wine! He had no idea where it had come from – but the no doubt considerably relieved catering staff who had drawn the “water” sure enough knew!
Then the head caterer calls over the bridegroom, and slapping him on the back, bellows out in front of the whole party, “Everyone serves first the good wine, and then, when everyone has had their fill, then comes the cheap stuff. But you! You have saved the good wine until now!”
And now, instead of living down shame, this newlywed couple would be celebrated for years to come. MAV
If this story is high divine comedy, how wondrous that the only ones in on the joke are Jesus (and no doubt his mother), his followers, and the wait staff. No one else had a clue. I see someone from the catering staff nervously carrying a sample of a new supply of wine (Gee, where did that come from?) to their “boss.” Talk about trust. And then he drinks. And here’s where some who feel compelled to explain away the miraculous from every Bible story (from all of life?) and replace wonder with rationalistic explanations and alternative theories say that the “master of the feast” tasted what was offered and then burst out laughing because it was, after all, just water. His statement is all irony, and all present raise their glasses and toast the happy couple with truly watered down drinks as a way of saying, “No worries, we love you anyway.” Puh-lease. Rewind. The “master of the feast,” the architriklinos (literally, “ruler of the three couches” because in Greco-Roman culture most people ate and partied while reclining on couches arranged in the shape of a “|_|”) drinks the new wine, and he is sure the groom has pulled a fast one. He’s been holding out on them all – because he’s never tasted anything like this before. There’s no irony in his voice, only pure amazement and delight. What a diminished capacity we can have for such amazement and delight. We tend to be much more suited to the severity of the six stone pots of our religious or irreligious routines and explanations. Oh for the readiness for more, the willingness to taste something truly new and creative. God really does save the best for last – if we can only hear the sound of our own hollow pots and then drink what is freely offered to us in such unexpected and overflowing abundance.
How wide would you say your capacity is for “amazement and delight”? When most recently have you found yourself unexpectedly amazed and delighted by life? What happened?
Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see wonder, to experience amazement and delight in the most ordinary occurrences and turns of life. Let me open myself to receive it, to taste it. To receive you. To see you. And to accept your invitation to join the party you’ve been throwing all along. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.