Our pastor was talking about Jesus’ first miracle. It’s the one where water becomes wine. Jesus had the servants in the place where the wedding was fill six stone jars with water. Each of the stone jars held between twenty and thirty gallons. Pastor Bill had four 5-gallon buckets on the platform. That’s six of the stacks of four 5-gallon buckets. That’s twenty-four 5-gallon buckets of water that were suddenly wine.
“That’s 120 gallons!” whispered the young husband in front of us to the young wife in front of us. It wasn’t a “Wow, that would be great!” kind of whisper. (That’s what you were expecting, right? That’s where your mind jumped.) It was a “That’s a significant quantity of water to suddenly become wine” kind of whisper.
It was the kind of whisper that happens when someone senses that the words on the page of the familiar Bible story might actually signify something in the real world.
It was the same kind of reaction that a friend of mine had to a Bible story video. He called the office and said, “What the ___ was Jon trying to say?”
It was the same kind of reaction that another friend had when he showed me a couple of paragraphs from the book of Mark and said, “I read that and I said, ‘What did You mean?'”
It’s the kind of reaction that happens when you read a story and think, “I wonder what looked like?”
I’m doing that more and more myself, going inside the story slowly, deliberately. I’m spending less time looking for the moral. I’m spending more time listening to the voices of the speakers, their voices and their hearts. And I’m listening for the voice behind the stories.
Because, after all, 120 gallons of wine is a lot of wine.
I once wrote about this kind of reading, called lectio divina.