The old gentleman gazed out the window of his humble dwelling in Ephesus, not really seeing anything, but allowing his mind the luxury of traveling down the long road of inspirational memory.
It had been over 60 years since he first met Jesus, but it seemed almost like yesterday. He was young and adventuresome at the time, and his father’s fishing business was not doing that well. Besides, young John was looking for more of a future than trolling the Sea of Galilee. At the encouragement of John the Baptist, whom he had admired, he accepted Jesus’ invitation to his campsite. Surprisingly, that brief encounter became a lifelong devotion.
Now in the sunset of his life, John was hearing dubious accounts questioning the deity of Jesus that seemed to be gaining popularity among people. As the last member of the original disciples, John felt one of his last sacred duties was to record his firsthand experiences with the Master. He came to scroll and quill with impeccable credentials. He was one of the first to follow Jesus. He had stayed closer and longer than any of the others. He was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and the one who leaned on the Lord’s breast. He was the only disciple who witnessed the crucifixion and had been given the care of Jesus’ mother, Mary. So from the front row of his personal experiences, John felt he should write the gospel that would eventually bear his name.
As his old arthritic hand took up the quill, John had to admit there were so many things Jesus did and said that he was not able to enumerate them all (John 21:25), but he wanted to share those things that would be a foundation of faith for those who came to the story with a sincere heart (John 20:30, 31). He decided to begin with the story of attending a family wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). John remembered it well.
Several days into the festivities, Jesus’ mother came with distressing news: the family was about to suffer social humiliation because their supply of wine was depleted. At her insistence, Jesus instructed the attendants to fill the six 30-gallon water jars in the home with fresh water. When these casks were filled to the brim, the servants were instructed to draw a sample of the contents and present it to the master of ceremonies. The host was astonished! This was the finest wine he had ever tasted! While the guests simply enjoyed the “bouquet” of the beverage offered, those in the back room (like John) knew something miraculous had happened in the process. This was not coincidence! This was evidence of God-up-close, graciously rescuing the family from a potentially social disaster!
But John said the greatest miracle was not what unexplainably happened to the contents of those water jars, but what took place within him! Faith and hope rose from the ashes of a life going nowhere! He must have wondered, “If Jesus could turn water into the finest wine, what could he do with my very ordinary, aimless life? What could he make of me?” Even after 60 years, John recalled this incident as his “moment of faith” when he believed Jesus was the promised Savior, the Son of God. It was more than an emotional reaction! That day, he mentally stepped across the border dividing believers from unbelievers. A transformation began with him that surpassed what happened to the water. By faith, he was “born again,” and he embarked upon a journey of faith to see what God could make of an ordinary, flawed individual.
John said he wrote this account, not to entertain his readers, but to give them a basis to believe that the one who changed the water, changed John, and can change anyone who believes that he can transform their lives as well. Would you allow John’s account to have his desired effect on you? If you will believe what John reported, you will be astonished at what will happen within you! You will have your own “moment of faith.”
Loren A. Yadon is pastor of New Life Fellowship of Boise.
The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.