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Empty Water Jars

February 19, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – John 2:7 (NRSV)

Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

Focus 

What is easier to say: Fill the jars with water, or Bring your empty water jars? The water precedes the wine, but the emptiness precedes the water. I’ve often re-imagined this miracle as the miracle of the empty water jars. Half the battle is stating: I am empty. I’ve come up short. I ran out of… Jesus is still in the business of doing something out of nothing.

Devotion

Mary, the mother of Jesus, knows a need when she sees one. She and Jesus, along with the disciples, had been invited to a wedding in Cana. “They have no more wine.”

The bride and the groom would be embarrassed. The guests would not be able to drink and celebrate. The best wine had been served and containers had run dry. People might murmur and begin to leave. Mary sets this miracle into motion and tells the servants: “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you.”

What is easier to say: Fill the jars with water, or Bring your empty water jars?

The water precedes the wine, but the emptiness precedes the water. I’ve often re-imagined this miracle as the miracle of the empty water jars. Half the battle is stating: I am empty. I’ve come up short. I ran out of… Jesus is still in the business of doing something out of nothing.

Bring your empty water jars that have no water. This is what precedes the miracle of transformation. To say: I have run out of love in this relationship. I have run out of vision in this business. I have run out of patience in this group. I have run out of compassion with the insurmountable needs around me. I am empty.

Herein lies the thin place where the miracle has room to take place. Here Jesus can step in and the Kingdom breaks in. Bring your emptiness. Bring your water jar to be filled up with water. Watch that water turn into wine. It’s a slow process. If you’re here for quick wine, you will miss the gentle grace that comes with the empty in Jesus’ presence. Bring Jesus your empty water jars and do whatever Jesus says.

Reflect

What or where is your empty water jar? Where do you need God’s provision?

Act

During this time of Lent, perhaps you’re stepping into spiritual practices of fasting from something. Imagine that fasting practice as an empty water jar to be filled in the next 40 days. A slow, but steady miracle.

Pray

Jesus, in our emptiness you are near. You promise the wine of your presence as your provision for our deepest needs. May we draw close, humbly draw near, and honestly bring our empty water jars. Wherever we have run empty, may your Spirit pour out and fill up. Wherever we are in need, may you give us vision and provision. Wherever we have come up short, may you be faithful in your steadfast love to do the work that we cannot do ourselves. We bring our honest offering of emptiness knowing that you accept it as enough. And then, holy God, grant us grace. Amen.

P.S.

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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Water Into Wine at the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)


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2 thoughts on “Empty Water Jars

  1. Margie Tomlinson says:

    This is one of those wonderful Scripture passages that is packed with between the lines Ah Ha’s. I see here is example of obedience that let the servants be a part of the miracle. You need to read further..they put their hands to the task, filled the water cisterns. THEN there were more instructions. Fill the flasks and take them to the host. It was in carrying the water filled serving flasks that the water became wine. Either way, we have to “do what He says” acknowledge our emptiness to be filled, and/or be available to be part of someone else’s miracle. Thank you

  2. Mark says:

    I think it teaches of an Act of Faith, empowering us to take action in using what God has given us (by grace in Christ). In this case, the water came from God (created by God for us to use).

    When we are empty, we can fill ourselves with the Living Water (God’s Word) and HE will use it to perform the miracle in our lives.

    In Bible stories, God always empowers people (with HIS Holy Spirit) to take action.

    http://www.facebook.com/ChristMyGOD

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