This week our family will be studying the John chapters 2-4. In these chapters, John tells us about the very first miracle that Jesus performs during his mortal ministry. For his first miracle, Jesus helps his mother by turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. "The miracle that Jesus performs is appropriate to the personal setting of the wedding. Turning water into wine is an act of turning scarcity into abundance, of repaying the initial hospitality offered him. Jesus' first miracle in John takes place in the presence of friends and family, not in the presence of powers and authorities. This opening to Jesus' ministry shows that the miraculous life-giving power of God is at work even (and perhaps, especially) in the intimate daily places of human lives. It also is a miracle of pure abundance and grace--nothing life-threatening was at stake here, as will be the case in many of Jesus' healing miracles. This miracle illustrates the celebration of the prologue, 'from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace'" (O'Day, Gail R.Women's Bible Commentary, Third Edition. Westminster John Knox Press. 2012. Kindle). I think it is incredibly beautiful that Jesus performs a miracle for His mother in this way, and I think it shows that we can share the concerns of our daily life with Him because nothing is too mundane for Him. The miracle also shows that Jesus performs these kinds of miracles in His own way and in His own time. As He tells His mother in verse 4, "mine hour is not yet come." Just like Jesus mother, who told the servants after this response, "Whatsoever he saith unto you do it" trusting that Jesus would act to help her in the best way, we too can trust him to answer our prayers. As Howard W. Hunter said in 1961:
"There are some who ask why the Church is concerned with temporal affairs. The Church is interested in the welfare of each of its members. This interest therefore cannot be limited to man's spiritual needsalone but extends to every phase of his life. Social and economic needs are important to everyone. Man also has need for physical, mental, and moral guidance. Our lives cannot be one-sided, nor can we separate the spiritual from the temporal. The Lord has said:
'Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created. Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporalcommandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal neither carnal nor sensual' D&C 29:34-35" (Keep God's Commandments Now).
To illustrate this further, we will share with the children times that we have asked Heavenly Father for help with mundane things, like a test at school, and how He has answered us in an individualized way.
After discussing this miracle, we will talk about His visit with the Samaritan woman at the well. Like John the Baptist, Andrew, and Phillip in the first chapter of John, the Samaritan woman shows us how to be an apostle of Christ. She listens to Jesus, testifies of His mission, shares her testimony with her friends, and brings them to Christ. "To witness to Jesus--to see Jesus and tell others about that experience--is one of the primary marks of discipleship in John" (O'Day, Gail R.Women's Bible Commentary, Third Edition. Westminster John Knox Press. 2012. Kindle). According to Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, "She had received a witness--she had begun to partake of the living water--and she desired to witness of His divinity to others." (The Master Healer, 2016). To illustrate this point, the children will sequence a series of pictures, showing how all of these people were disciples of Christ. You can download the worksheet here.