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water at hand during meals. Six large water-pots stood by. Our Lord ordered the servants to fill them with water: they did so, and behold it was wine! He, who year by year during the long summer months prepares the wine in the grape out of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth, now turned the water into wine at once. The servants carried it at once to the governor of the feast—the friend who was chosen to sit at the head of the party; and he praised it as good wine, and wondered that it had been kept to the last.
How gracious it was in our Lord thus to supply the wants of those who had invited Him to their feast! He would not make stones into bread to satisfy His own hunger, but He turned water into wine to satisfy the thirst of the wedding guests. And thus He adorned and beautified the holy estate of marriage with an honour that rests upon it still. Thus, too, the lowly house at Cana became a type of the Christian Church, in which old things have passed away, and all things have become new. The water of the Old Testament, its divers washings and purifyings, have given place to the good wine of the New Testament—to a cup that runneth over; for the Lord of Hosts hath made for all people a feast of wines on the lees well refined,' and Wisdom saith, Come, drink of the wine which I have mingled.'
The world always gives its best things first, and disappoints us afterwards ; but it is quite different in this holy house. The Heavenly Bridegroom keeps the good wine until the last. With Him there are first waters of sorrow, and then the wine of the chalice. His guests are first penitents, then communicants. At first He
mingles our drink with weeping, then He gives us to drink of His pleasures as out of a river.
. Such is Thy Banquet, dearest Lord;
O give us grace to cast
And keep our best till last.'
II.—THE HEALING OF THE NOBLEMAN'S
Our Lord Jesus went to Jerusalem to keep the Passover; He cleansed the Temple, He worked miracles, He taught Nicodemus, and then He returned to Galilee by way of Samaria, and came to Cana, where a few weeks before He had made the water wine. And there He worked another miracle, of which we read in St. John, iv. 46–54. It is read as the Gospel for the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity.
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto Him, and besought Him that He would come down and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto Him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he
went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house.
This nobleman, or kingly person, was most likely a courtier of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. Our Lord Jesus had been staying at Capernaum in the spring of the year. The nobleman would have heard then of His power and goodness; and now, in time of trouble, he turned to Him, and prayed Him to come and heal his dying son. But the Lord saw fit to try his faith. He did not say He would come; He only reproved him and the other Jews for being so slow to believe Him. He said, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.' "The nobleman did require a sign. He little thought that Jesus of Nazareth was Lord of life and death, that He could do wonders at a distance as well as close at hand. So he kept on begging Him to come down before his child died. How different this was from the centurion, who said, 'Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.' But if the nobleman's faith was weak, it was real. If it was but as smoking flax, the spark had been kindled from Heaven. And it had its reward. Jesus said to him at last, 'Go thy way; thy son liveth.'
We know that in general our Saviour healed the sick exactly in the way in which He was asked
to heal them; He did not do so now. The nobleman asked Him to come down and heal the child. Jesus spoke the word, and healed him from a distance. But the father was satisfied, and went his way. It was now seven o'clock in the evening; and Capernaum was twenty-three miles from Cana. So he did not go home that night; and the next day, on his way back, he met his servants, and found that his son had got well at the very hour when our Lord had spoken the words of healing.
And what followed? The nobleman believed, and his whole house. True, it is said before that he believed, and because he believed, Jesus Christ had healed his son; but his faith then had been very weak. He had been like that other father, who cried out, 'Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief! When the Lord reveals Himself in some fresh way to His people, and quickens their faith, it seems as if they had never believed before. By faith' the children of Israel 'passed through the Red Sea as by dry land;' yet when afterwards they saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore, we are told, as though it were something fresh, that they believed the Lord. The widow of Sarepta had received Elijah as a prophet, and obeyed God's message sent by him; yet after her son was raised to life, she said to Elijah, “Now by this I know thou art a man of God.'
III.--THE FIRST MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT
TOWARDS the end of the first year of Jesus Christ's Ministry, He stood by the Lake of Gennesareth, or Sea of Galilee. This is a very beautiful lake, thirteen miles long and six broad, lying low among the mountains of Israel. Its waters are as clear as crystal, and full of fish. Few fishermen cast their nets into it now- -all is lonely and desolate; but in the time of our Lord it was a scene of active busy life. Ships were crossing from side to side, fishing-boats were to be seen on the water, towns and villages were scattered about the country, and nine cities stood close to the shore. Though Galilee seemed such a thriving prosperous country, the men of Judea and Jerusalem despised it as dark and ignorant, because it was far from the Holy City, and mixed up with the Gentile world. Isaiah called it the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles,' and said, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the region and shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined;'1 and his prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, stood by the Lake of Gennesareth.
What He did there is related in St. Luke, v. 1-11, which is appointed for the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity. The same history (as we believe is told in fewer words in St. Matt. iv. 18-22, and St. Mark, i. 16-20.
And it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood
'Isaiah, ix. 2.