How your tears can be transformed into sweet wine #5 Mary at the Wedding of Cana

AmberOBrien"

 

Oh my dear Sweet Sister…..have you been waiting and hoping for something to change in your life? Are you searching for transformation?  Perhaps you have been praying for a relationship to be healed, a broken heart to be mended or maybe a sickly body to be restored to a healthy one?   Do you feel as if you are walking in a desert place and need hope and refreshment?  Jesus changes water into wine and He can make something beautiful out of whatever you are facing.

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He not only changed the water into wine but He created the sweetest and best wine for the later part of the reception. Come join your sweet sisters in this study and find out how “He saves the Best for last.”

Our focus in this series “Man…..Does Jesus Love His Women” is the close relationship Jesus had with many women in the New Testament.  The story of the Wedding of Cana reveals Jesus first miracle and gives us insight into his relationship with his mother Mary.

Let’s start by reading slowly John 2: 1-12.

Imagine yourself in this scene as Mary. During Biblical times a wedding festival included the entire town and lasted many days and to run out of wine would be an embarrassment to the wedding party as well as a huge disappointment to all who attended. Most people in biblical times labored long hours and had few opportunities for feasting and celebrating.

  1. If you were Mary and had a son who you knew could “change the situation”  ……what would you do?

She came to him and face to face she told him the situation. He questioned her with,“Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come.”

 But she did not give up. She took action and assumed that He would help.  He respected his Mother Mary and let God use her to continue to unfold God’s perfect plan. He listened to her concern. He responded to her.  Isn’t this the give and take of what a true love relationship entails?

  1.   “Do whatever He tells you.”   What kind of statement is this?

This is a statement of faith. A command from our “mother” to follow what God asks us to do. Let us consider what the servants needed to do to follow what Jesus asked them to do.

  1. How did the jars start off  They were Empty.
  2. Then the servants were asked to ? fill them with water ……..the servants had to make numerous trips to the well to fill up the 20-30 gallon stone jars. A total of 100 gallons of water. Wow!

We must become like the stone jars sweet sister.  We must empty ourselves out first before we can be filled with the holy spirit.  We prepare ourselves for the gift of God bubbling up within us with the confessing of our sins and the emptying of ourselves as we surrender our lives to God.   What could the water represent in this story?

Could our tears be as the water that was needed to fill the jars before the miracle occurs?

During desert times of loss and heartache, we cry tears that are precious to the Lord. If fact, in Psalm 56:8 the bible states that God collects our tears in a bottle.

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“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Could these huge stone jars be as the bottle reminding us that Jesus not only weeps with us but is collecting our tears to someday change them into the sweetest and finest wine?

We serve a God that keeps changing things.

He started off in Genesis changing dust into a man.

Then he made a woman out of a man’s rib.

Now at a Wedding in Cana, He changes ordinary water into extraordinary sweet, sweet wine.

To my  sweet sisters, remember that you can draw near to Jesus as Mary did and tell him your situation. Repent and turn from any sin.  Let him collect your tears in His jar and trust that he promises to change your tears to sweet joy. If we draw near to him…the best is yet to be.

(To my Catholic sweet sisters, remember that Mary is now up in Heaven around the throne of God with all the angels and saints.  She has influence still and you can ask for her to pray with you to our Lord Jesus Christ.)

Now please turn to John Ch. 15  to read about how Jesus relates his followers to the grape branches and that He is like a vine.

3. How can we be sure to produce good grapes and wine?

Yes! We need to remain close to Jesus. 

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Reflect on the close relationship Mary had with her son Jesus at this wedding receptions. She spoke her request and then she listened. She encouraged others to follow him as well and to do “Everything He tells you”.

4. What if I feel as if I am in a drought and I don’t see any change happening in my situation or the situation of one of my family members?

Oh. Sweet Sister I understand. I’ve experienced times of drought while grieving.  Maybe you don’t see anything good with loss right now and think this time is just a waste of time and energy. I also have had  times of worry and angst over the choices or the situation of a family member.  I have seen many family members and friends struggle in times of drought and the fear can be overwhelming for those feeling helpless as we watch.

If you or a loved one is in a season of drought imagine the roots of your faith and the faith of your loved ones growing deep and wide under the surface. You can’t see the roots of the grape plant but it is during times of drought and heat that the best grapes are produced. The smaller grapes contain a more condensed juice that in turn produces a sweeter wine.  The Dessert wine (the sweetest wine of all) has been left on the vine an extra month. So if you feel exhausted from waiting, remember the best grapes have to wait the longest and that God has not forgotten you or your situation.

Our desert times can produce the sweetest dessert wine if we choose to remain on the vine.

Truly truly friend….God is able to use a drought to produce sweet wine.

If we listen and follow what He says to do.

If we remain close to Him.

If we have faith as Mary did and assume He wants to help.

  1. What Action can you do to show your faith ?

a. Perhaps writing down three things that you are thankful for.

b. Writing 10 good things about the person who is challenging you.

c. Asking a friend to pray with you. Or for you.

d. Turn on praise music and sing along or just read the words and soak it in.

e. Reach out to someone who is suffering their own desert time….a person whose loss or struggle is more recent.  Trust often means releasing the situation into God’s strong and loving hands and then focusing on helping those God has put in your path.

God is all about transformation and doesn’t waste anything. He even collects our tears and in His own time changes them to the sweetest of wines.  So trust that God will use this desert time to cause your roots of faith to go deep and your future compassion for others will be as sweet as the dessert wine served after a special dinner.

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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

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Man…Does Jesus Love His Women. #4 The Samaritan Women

AmberOBrien"

 

Man…Does Jesus love His Women         #4   The Samaritan Woman

 

Thirsty for true Love?  Lonely and rejected by family and friends ? Perhaps concerned that your past or present may prohibit you from God’s complete love?  God sees you my sister.  He is going out of His Way to show you that He is the Way.  How do I know?…from spending time with our next sweet sister in our series  “Man….Does Jesus Love His Women” which  focuses on Jesus’s relationship with women in the Bible.  Let us study together our fourth women who is referred in scripture as The Samaritan Woman.

First read slowly John Ch. 4: 4-42.

 

  1. What do you think the statement, “He had to pass through Samaria” means?

Actually,  he didn’t “have to” pass through Samaria as most Jews bypassed this area. The Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews and any item they touched would be considered “unclean”.   I believe that this was a divine appointment and that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria” because this was God’s will.  God (Jesus) knew the Samaritan women would be at the well at noon and made sure he was there as well.

2. Why did she come at Noon? When do the other women come?

Women traditionally came early in the morning to fetch water. Perhaps she went at noon to avoid the other woman in her village? Did they look down on her for her living situation? Jesus knew she would be alone.

3. She is shocked that he would ask for her to touch something he would touch …why?

A Samaritan woman would be considered ritually unclean by the Jews.  He had her at “Give me a drink”.  Her thoughts probably were,   “Who is this Jewish man that is talking to me …trying to get to know me?”  He came not to ask for water but to give her what He knew she was thirsty for…….

4. Does she understand what he means by “living water?”

No.  She takes him literally and thinks he is talking about a magic well.

5. She is happily surprised that Jesus knows about her five husbands and that the man she is living with is not her husband. How do you think the way Jesus is responding is different than the women in the village?  She doesn’t feel condemned as her reaction is excitement and surprise that Jesus “Knows her”. I suspect she feels cared for that Jesus understands the circumstances, knows her heart and takes the time to chat with her.

She questions Jesus on which Mountain is best to worship God…..Does the physical location matter? What kind of worshipers does He seek?  Spirit and Truth (John 14:16-17 John 3:5-7)

The Samaritans had their own Temple on Mt. Gerizim to contrast with Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. But Jesus is saying the location of worship doesn’t matter.  Worshiping the true God is what is most important.  He is seeking our true worshipers and seeks out the Samaritan woman as He is seeking to have relationship with you my sweet sister.  Worship begins in our hearts.  She no longer lives in confusion as to which mountain to worship on or if she should continue in her sin of living with this man.

  She is face to face with the holy God of the universe and now knows what she needs to do.

Now read Isaiah 43:3 as this is an example of how water is used in scripture as an analogy for forgiveness and new life.

Remember not the events of the past, The things of long ago.  See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, In the wasteland, rivers.

She leaves her jar and runs into town to tell them about her encounter with Jesus.

What is the significance of her leaving her jar?

She has found what she was really thirsty for.  The Unconditional Love of the Savior of the World.

She has received the gift of the “Living Water” (Isaiah 44:3-5)

She has met Jesus who later in the same gospel answers, “ I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

She is often referred to as the First Missionary? Why?

She runs to tell everyone about her encounter.  Even those women who rejected her?  Yes! She wants to share her joy with all who will listen.

Does a missionary have to travel far? No…it often is the people around us in our ordinary day of fetching water that we can share the good news.

So my sweet sister.  The Holy Savior of the World knows your heart.  He sees you and knows your struggles. Come to the well and He will quench your thirst.

I end with a quote from the beautiful book, The Better Part  by John Martunek

Christ is the Savior of the World, the Messiah, the long-awaited King greater even than Jacob, inheritor of the Promise and father of the twelve tribes of Israel, so he tells this divorcee. He graces the Samaritan woman with one of the richest descriptions of himself and his work that appear in all the Scriptures. Why? Why tell someone so insignificant? Because to him, she wasn’t insignificant at all.  He wanted to be known by her, to give her hope, to save her. Ours is a Lord who wishes to shower us with His love, to fill us with the “living waters” of “the spirit and truth,” and to “tell us everything”. This is the God in whom we believe; this is the God we serve.qtq80-VMpv6P