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Week:03, Season:1, 2016 Posted on Saturday by PCT

Water into Wine

Scripture:John 2:1-11

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Are You Happy with Your Life Now?

The tsunami of happiness philosophy in Bhudan has hit the rich country Japan, as reported in an internet article. This title is telling that the Kingdom of Bhutan was a country of the poor and the happiness and in contrast, Japan was a country of the rich and the unhappiness. According to an investigation, the average income of Bhudan citizens was 1,400 US dollars, but 90% of the citizens are very happy. In contrast, as the strongest nation in terms of economic development in Asia, the average income of Japan citizens was 31,500 US dollars. The average income of Japanese was 23 times of the Bhudan citizens. The happiness index of citizens in 2011 listed Bhudan as the 8th happiest country but Japan as the 88th happiest country. The index listed Taiwan as the 63rd happiest country. The ranking of Taiwan was a bit higher than Japan but much lower than Bhudan. In 2011, President Ma stated that the government has constructed the index of Gross National Happiness in Taiwan following the example of happiness index in Bhudan. After performing the measurement, the index revealed that Taiwan is the happiest country in Asia. Many questioned the result because the life of Taiwanese citizens were threaten by high inflation, rising unemployed rate, enlarged gap of rich and poor, and poisonous food on market. There was no happiness at all.

What makes Bhudan ranked highly on the global happiness index? Gross National Happiness (GNH) index emphasizes on the spiritual well-being; and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) index emphasizes on the material well-being. Bhutan recommends GNH index while other countries recommends GDP index. Telling from the GNH index in Bhutan, very likely, people are much happier under any circumstances as long as promoting one’s spirituality welfare more than materialistic welfare. But is it really that simple?

We can discover the reason why people in Bhudan are happier from “the happiness history” in Bhutan. The Former King Jigme Singey Wangchuck of the Kingdom of Bhutan succeeded to the throne at his 19. He had decided to establish an extraordinary Kingdom of Bhudan, 98% of the lands above 3000 meters high, at his youth. During his study in the United Kingdom, he realised that promoting the economic growth in Western countries did not make citizens happy but frustrating, even with high income. He asked himself, “Is promoting economic growth what Bhutan people truly pursue for?” After his return to Bhutan, he investigated Bhutan people about their lifetime goal or dream. The answer was “Happiness.” In 1974, he suggested the guidelines of GNH index instead of GDP index. He made three major polices: 1. Free access to domestic medical resource; 2. Tenant farmer owning private land; 3. Free access to domestic and foreign educational resource. These policies conferred equal rights of living, working, and developing for Bhutan people. Equity was the foundation of happiness. The high GDP index may bring happiness in some aspects, but GDP would eventually being meaningless without equity (see the example of Japan). It revealed that fortune is not the most significant index of lifetime happiness, but the equity. The people of nation are only happiest while seeking average richness under the conditions of democracy, freedom, and justice.

Water into Wine

Let’s read the script today and learn from the miracle in the wedding, the first miracle of Jesus Christ in John Gospel. “Wine was gone” was the starting point of the miracle. Wine was very important at the wedding banquet in Jewish culture. Jewish Rabbis often said, “None of the joy without the wine.” Jewish considered hospitality as virtue, and the shortage of supply in a wedding banquet as humiliation. In the story, the wine was gone so soon after the beginning of the wedding banquet. How could this happen? Were we often in such kind of difficulties in our life—“the wine was gone”?

Jesus’ mother Maria would like to find out a solution for the wedding host and asked Jesus for his opinions. It seemed that Jesus responded intensely, but what he truly meant was “Do not worry, for you have no idea what will happen next. I shall solve the problem in my way so please hand the work to me.” “My time” in the script here referred to the time related to Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection, and return to God. The time of God was different from ours. He has His own way of calculation in time. We need to learn how to seize His days and how to wait for His days.

In the script, water tanks were containers for liquid storage. The miracle was displayed by measuring the wine. Water tanks were common household utensils in Jewish society. Jewish stored water within water tanks for ablutions. The water was used to wash hands and to wash feet at the entrance of house. Jewish not only washed their hands before meals, but also in between every courses serving on the table. They abided by the rules of ablutions strictly to clean themselves thoroughly. The volume of each water tank was equal to 600 liters nowadays, and the price of the wine within each water tank was equal to 10,000 US dollars at least. The value of the wine was tremendous. What a precious gift!

Did the wedding host have any specific relationship with Jesus? We either know any from the script, neither was the point in the script. We can only learn from the script that the wine was gone soon after the beginning of the wedding banquet, and people were in need of wine. At the wedding banquet, Jewish usually served the choice wine first and then served the cheaper wine when guests were too drunk to know the quality of wine. The author of John Gospel might emphasize how beautiful and decent the wine was prepared by Jesus; therefore, he wrote down “You have saved the best wine till now.” What Jesus did was asking servants to fill the water tanks fully, and serving “water” within these water tanks to the master of the banquet. This was how Jesus performed the miracle.

What Has Been Filled within Our Life: Water or Wine?

The meaning of miracle was “a sign of significance” in Greeks. The rich connotation of miracle was more than the superficial understanding about miracle itself. The pure water was turned into tasty wine in the hands of Jesus. The miracle is a warning to our life. It reminds us of happiness within our life. Are we truly happy with our study and work? Are we truly happy with our relationship with loved ones and family members? Learning from the experience of Bhutan, we understand that the equity and the average richness bring out the possibility of happiness. In some aspects, the term “equity” can be elaborated as “none of the judgement and none of the discrimination on any values.” Equity is a universal value approved by the world; however, being none judgmental and discriminating on any values is really hard for us to achieve. Most of the time, we extensively compare one another in all aspects of their life, and the result of the comparison always makes them frustrated. The solution to the unhappiness is returning to the power of equity.

The first miracle in John’s Gospel was water into wine by Jesus. Making water from tasteless to tasty, it signified that Jesus has the power to change one’s life, and make one’s life from poor to rich. What mattered the most was that Jesus never judged or discriminated anyone on their values. Miracle is a sign of grace. We are connected to God because of His love, not because of our goodness.

The miracle of Jesus may be easily associated with success. We have to think carefully of any associated meaning we linked with miracle. Jesus leads us toward happiness in our life, but he does not guarantee our success on earth. The real miracle will be far from us when we only ask Him to bless our success on earth. Will we still believe in Him if we realise that believing in Jesus will not necessarily make us successful and wealthy? The miracle in today’s Bible passage, “water into wine,” is a good reminder to us that Jesus came to change one’s life, not to guarantee one’s success on the earth.

For discussion:

1. Please share with us about your condition in life. Do you consider your life dull as tasteless water or beautiful as tasty wine? Which kind of life do you expect to have?
2. Jesus can turn water into wine. Which part of your life do you expect that Jesus can change about you?

Please pray for:

1. the community works of your church. May the community understands the love in Christ from church services and community services.
2. your own life. May our life be changed when we are eager for the love in Jesus Christ.


Dear Lord,
You love us as always. You have revealed Your will in the script today. You taught us that achieving success on earth is not the faith of life, but seeking the unconditional love in your hands is. May we desire to change our life, and the pleasant aroma filled within our renewed life, as Jesus turned tasteless water into tasty wine. May we learn how to preach the gospel to those who are in need at the right time. May we have the vision of wisdom to understand our days of life. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

Something you can do:

1. Please send the booklet of “Reading the Bible with New Eyes” to those who have not received it. You can share your review about any article you read from it, especially the one you are motivated by with your personal spiritual experience.
2. Please share your experience about how you decided to believe in Jesus with other non-believers, such as friends and family members. You may talk about how you met Jesus and how Jesus has changed your life.