Up to the Brim (John 2:7)

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

John 2:7

This interaction takes place during Jesus’ first miracle. Jesus is at a wedding celebration and Mary, Jesus’ mother, tells Him that the wine has run out. She then tells the servants to do whatever He tells them. This verse is what He tells them to do and how they carry out His instruction. The water contained within these waterpots will shortly become wine.

These waterpots were, John notes, huge. Two or three measures apiece which means twenty or thirty gallons apiece. With six waterpots, this works out to between 120 and 180 gallons in total. That is a lot of water that is about to become a lot of wine.

It struck me that the servants filled them up to the brim. They could have filled the containers most of the way up or even just filled one or two, thinking that Jesus wanted to use it for its intended purpose. They did not know why He instructed them to fill the waterpots, only that He had told them to do so. They did not exploit the ambiguity of the command — Fill the waterpots with water —so they could slack off and get back to other things. Rather, these servants obeyed the most complete version of the command that could be conceived. They filled them up to the brim.

In God’s commands to me, am I exploiting loopholes so as to do as little as possible or is my obedience up to the brim? Jesus’ provision for this wedding feast was in direct proportion to the obedience of these servants. Had they obeyed less, then there would have been less wine for the party. Since they obeyed as they did, there was as much as 180 gallons — gallons! — of the best wine ever.

Let my obedience be up to the brim and I will see God’s blessing poured out according to the measure of my obedience.

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