So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”
Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.
This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
[John 4:46-54 NKJV]
This is Jesus’ second miracle at Cana* in Galilee**. Jesus has passed through Samaria (watch mountain) travelling from Judea (He shall be praised), on His way to Galilee. We can see from the definitions below that Cana and Galilee have significant names to point us in the right way of understanding.
You will see a great variety of infections in most Hebrew words, and we can see how certain meanings are derived. Cana implies upright and righteous, and Galilee strongly suggests trust.
It would take too long to go into a precise explanation word by word, but I hope that we can see that by following Jesus on His journey, that He is taking us from praising the Lord when we are born again in Judea, through the watchfulness and discernment of the Holy Spirit and learning of ‘the rivers of living water’ in Samaria to our landing at the place of light and righteousness and trust at Cana in Galilee.
The more we look at scripture, the greater the depths we are shown. Three times the nobleman encounters the words “your son lives.” — and we witness a wonderful healing miracle. We see that when the nobleman believed — and trusted — Jesus, his son was freed from the bondage of sickness.
How often when we pray for healing do we trust and believe — or do we expect great signs and wonders? Most of The Lord’s miracles — now as it was then — are performed quietly and unseen by the eyes of men. Jesus is not a showman. He doesn’t need to be. He just needs us to be upright and trusting; He will do the rest.
* h7070. קָנֶה qâneh; from 7069; a reed (as erect); by resemblance a rod (especially for measuring), shaft, tube, stem, the radius (of the arm), beam (of a steelyard): — balance, bone, branch, calamus, cane, reed, x spearman, stalk. reed, stalk, bone, balances, stalk, water-plant, reed, calamus (aromatic reed) derived meanings measuring-rod, reed (as unit of measure - 6 cubits), beam (of scales - for scales themselves), shaft (of lampstand), branches (of lampstand), shoulder-joint
** h1556. גָּלַל g̱âlal; a primitive root; to roll (literally or figuratively): — commit, remove, roll (away, down, together), run down, seek occasion, trust, wallow.
A man is never the same after he has seen Jesus Christ. We are to be judged by our immortal moments.
In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap that for which you have not laboured; others have laboured, and you have entered into their labours.”
[John 4:31-38 NKJV]
Fields are a type of the world. We have heard of those called to ‘the mission fields’, and what is a field but land which is ready to receive seed to bring about new growth and be a provision for the season ahead.
This allusion allows Jesus to talk of The Law of Sowing and Reaping — one of the big four ‘immutable laws’*. He tells us clearly here what the world (the field) is like. ‘One sows and another reaps.’, He says. We can see that He sowed seed with the Samaritan woman at the well, and reaped a harvest when other Samaritans heard of Him from her.
And many more believed because of His own word.
Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
[John 4:41-42 NKJV]
He sows the seed in us that we might bear fruit — and that fruit is passing on as seed to others, that they also may bear fruit. This is not our work; this is entirely and completely Jesus at work; we are mere vessels witnessing to His message. There will be a harvest, and we benefit from this amazing gift.
Jesus asks us to ‘look at the fields’; see the prophetic truth of His mission. Those fields are ‘already white for harvest!’; brilliant with the light of those coming to see the purity and holiness of The Lord.
* The main 4 Immutable Spiritual Laws (unchanging principles) in scripture are:
1 - Sowing the seed by the dawn-light fair,
Sowing the seed by the noonday glare,
Sowing the seed by the fading light,
Sowing the seed in the solemn night:
O what shall the harvest be?
Sown in the darkness or sown in the light,
Sown in our weakness or sown in our might,
Gathered in time or eternity,
Sure, ah! sure, will the harvest be.
2 - Sowing the seed by the wayside high,
Sowing the seed on the rocks to die,
Sowing the seed where the thorns will spoil,
Sowing the seed in the fertile soil:
O what shall the harvest be?
3 - Sowing the seed with an aching heart,
Sowing the seed while the tear-drops start,
Sowing in hope, till the reapers come,
Gladly to gather the harvest home:
O what shall the harvest be?
The secret of our inefficiency for God is that we do not believe what He tells us about prayer. Prayer is not rational but Redemptive. Little books of prayer are full of “buts.” The New Testament says that God will answer prayer every time. The point is not—“will you believe?” but “will I, who know Jesus Christ, believe on your behalf?” (see 1 John 5:14–16).
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
[John 4:23 NKJV]
Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
[John 5:25 NKJV]
Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
[John 16:32 NKJV]
This is an aside to our study of John’s Gospel, but I feel is very relevant to what He is saying ‘in this hour’. John uses the phrase ‘the hour is coming’ five times, and in the form we see here ‘... and now is’ or ‘... has now come’, three times.
The import of the phrase is clearly ‘now is the hour’, with the emphasis on ‘now’.; this moment; immediately. And what happens now?
“Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
[John 17:7-14 NKJV]
What becomes clear after reading John 17, is that when Jesus talks of being alone, He is meaning His disciples then and now. There will be times when we leave Him alone, but He will not be downcast because He has kept us in Your name. We will want to leave Him alone, but He knows who will repent and return and none of them is lost except the son of perdition.
We are to Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. [Galatians 5:1 NKJV]
We can be eternally free now, when we choose Him.
See also “The Hour Is Now Come”
Written by Dan Ricciardelli
The great characteristic of the supernatural grace of God in a life is put by Jesus on the line of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the supernatural manifestation of a miracle in you and me.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
[John 4:7-14 NKJV]
This passage from John chapter 4 is a wonderful evocation of the Holy Spirit — indeed the fountain is a powerful Holy Spirit symbol — and we feel refreshed just reading these words.
Again and again, allusions are made to the Holy Spirit — indeed, “in spirit and truth” is mentioned twice here;
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
[John 4:24-26 NKJV]
Water is essential for life. Our bodies are some 70% water and we can survive much longer without food than without water; but no mention is made in this physiological information of the spiritual dimension. How long can we live without spiritual nourishment?
Jesus, as always, provides an answer which transcends the question — not ‘how long can we live without?’, but ‘you will have life everlasting’ — turning a question into a statement. Is it a statement of fact? For the answer to that question, we must travel with Him from Samaria to Galilee.
It takes a long time to realise that God has no respect for anything I bring Him; all He wants from me is unconditional surrender.
Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
But He needed to go through Samaria.
So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
[John 4:1-6 NKJV]
When we lived in Ireland, Milady and I were trying to get from Dublin to Powerscourt House to set up for a wedding. We wanted to find the southbound carriageway of the M50 – the Dublin city bypass – which would take us there. Coming out of the city we were diligently following the roadsigns for the M50 south, until they suddenly stopped at a crucial point and we found ourselves heading away from the motorway onto a small back road to a place called Lost.
Lost is very like Amach — directions to which can be found on every motorway in Ireland, until I realised that Amach was the Irish for 'exit'.
Gill suggested that we ask for directions and stopped to ask a local pedestrian the way to the southbound carriageway of the M50. “I'm going there meself,” says he. Plainly a lie as he was walking and appeared to be ‘a little the worse for drink’; but letting that pass, we asked how he would get there as we'd had considerable difficulty. “You're right there,” was the reply. “It's a problem, but if it were me, I'd go north and turn round.” You cannot fault logic like that.
In a sense this is what Jesus did here. He set out for Galilee, but later on in the chapter He appears in Jerusalem, which seems to have been his destination after all. He went north to Galilee before going south to Jerusalem. However, Jesus needed to go through Samaria — the most direct route from Judea to Galilee, but every step that Jesus took was purposed to teach us something about Kingdom life.
Jesus wanted to avoid the Pharisees, and representing as they do, an adherance to religious form — which seeks to stop Jesus’ work in us before it properly begins — they are the very antithesis of walking in the Spirit; thus He leads us away, leaving all form and religiousness behind us to find Samaria (from a root meaning to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect).
In Samaria we go through the keeping and guarding by the Holy Spirit, because we can have spiritual eyes to see Jesus clearly, discerning the way ahead.
But as we shall see, Jesus also had an appointment to keep.
To be continually worrying—“Does God want me to say this or do that?” is to be in an infirm condition. There is no light of the knowledge of the glory of God in that, it means I am a self-conscious spiritual prig.
John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’
He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
He must increase, but I must decrease.
He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.
He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.
For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
[John 3:27-36 NKJV]
John The Baptist is the one who heralded Jesus’ appearing to the world, and the apostle John now switches his account from what Jesus said about Himself to what The Baptist concluded, which was that Jesus was ‘The Bridegroom’, that is, ‘He who comes from heaven’.
John is presenting us here with the growing body of testimony that Jesus is ‘The Anointed One’; ‘The Christ’, and that he, Nicodemus and John the Baptist all hold it that Jesus was and is The Messiah, the gateway to everlasting life. His citing of two independent witnesses who state the truth of this assertion, could have been seen as sufficient in law to prove the case for Jesus.
However, this passage is most significant in the life of a believer for the statement — attributed to John the Baptist — that “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This very effectively sums up in few words what happens in every one who truly follows Jesus.
And we can see that in verse 36, we are being offered the promise of everlasting life, and that without Jesus Christ, we shall not see that life. He is the only life that will carry us through, and that life must abide in us.
God’s providences come to you unawares and they produce flurry or faith. If they produce flurry there is no nourishment in God’s Word. The tiniest touch of the wing of God’s providential angel is enough to keep you from concentration on God, and the Bible is of no practical use.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
[John 3:17-21 NKJV]
He who believes in Him is not condemned. This one sentence sums up the case. It stresses that we are not condemned, provided always that we believe in Jesus.
It goes on to say that if I don’t believe — well, I am already condemned ... not by Jesus, but by my unbelief. By refusing Jesus Christ, I am refusing His salvation.
This word is amplifying and delving deeper into the ‘born again’ statements immediately before. We are getting now to the ‘terms and conditions’, the truth of life in the Lord’s presence.
Condemnation is judgement*; so, if I am not condemned, can I say that I am not judged by God? No, I cannot, because I know that God is a God of judgement. What I must see is that judgement is inescapable ...
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? [1 Peter 4:17 NKJV]
Is this then the contradiction it appears to be? What seems to be happening here is that a differentiation is made depending on whether we are exposed to the light or choose to remain in darkness. Judgement happens either way; but if I am judged in the light (by abiding in Jesus Christ) then I am shown mercy in the court of heaven — not because of who I am, but because of who Christ is. This is God’s truth.
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. [Psalm 85:10-11 NKJV]
Now it seems that Jesus meeting with Nicodemus was Him pointing The Way, which we now see is walking in The Truth. If this analogy holds true, then what follows will reveal that Jesus is indeed who He says He is, and will show us The Life.
* condemnation: κρίσις krisis; decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law): — accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
Never let common sense obtrude and push the Son of God on one side. Common sense is a gift which God gave to human nature; but it is not the gift of His Son; never enthrone common sense.
The Son detects the Father; common sense never yet detected the Father and never will.
Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
[John 3:11-17 NKJV]
Verse 11 is the third time in John chapter 3, that Jesus uses the expression “most assuredly”*. He speaks to Nicodemus (conqueror; victorious among his people), a member of the Sanhedrin and thus a man of learning and Jesus is ‘assuring’ and reassuring him of the Truth.
The passage quoted above is the more complex exposition resulting from Jesus’ talk of being born again, and contains what is possibly the most quoted verse in the Bible — John 3:16 — For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus is impressing on Nicodemus the incontrovertible veracity of every word He says — and using the expression three times in quick succession— as Jesus does here — is our guarantee that Jesus speaks from the throne of God.
Nicodemus is convinced — and we know this because He appears later in John’s Gospel (7:50, 19:39) as loyal to Jesus. John is building his case to show clearly to all that Jesus is who He says He is, and this piece is clearly aimed at the Jews; showing that a member of the Sanhedrin — the legal hierarchy; a high-ranking judge — finds the evidence for Jesus compelling, and most assuredly the truth. Jesus is new life.
* Most assuredly: translated in the King James Version as “Verily, verily” is an expression used 25 times in the Bible, but only in the book of John. It is from the word Amen, and the Hebrew אָמַן ’âman; a primitive root; properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; interchangeable with 541) to go to the right hand: — hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.
Watch spiritual hardness, if ever you have the tiniest trace of it, haul up everything else till you get back your softness to the Spirit of God.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
[2 Corinthians 4:7-10, NASB]
These words in 2 Corinthians have spoken to us powerfully since we fully came to faith. We are the earthen vessels, each one of us who know Him, and there is such treasure within; the life in the spirit; the life of our Lord, a tiny seed planted and ready to grow to be a mighty oak ...
WHEN LIFE’S WAVES CRASH OVER US
I once heard the testimony of a Christian pastor who almost died in an accident while surfing. He was standing near the shore when he was struck from behind by a powerful wave. He was then struck by another wave, with such force that his neck was broken. As he lay injured in the water, it was only the quick action of others on the shore that saved his life. Many months followed of having his neck supported within a metal frame before he recovered from his nearly fatal experience.
I’ve remembered the above, as I’ve thought about the way that life’s events can come upon us just like those waves, with such force that we too can feel that we are struggling to hold on. At the end of last year, Gemma and I experienced the painful loss of our little dog Sid who had been such a precious part of our lives for eleven of his fifteen years. That loss came upon us without warning one day, and, like a wave crashing upon us, left us both breathless with its suddenness.
Then, at the beginning of this year, like the second wave which struck that Christian leader, I experienced a far more profound loss, the death of my Dad after a long-drawn-out illness. Coming so close together, both those losses left my heart broken and torn. I still experience times when waves of grief and sorrow come washing over me. Yet, like that Christian leader lifted from the shallows by his rescuers, I too have felt the loving hands of Jesus holding and carrying me through the tears and pain of those times.
Our verses for today’s Seed remind us that we are not exempt from the crushing power of life’s waves and storms, but they also remind us that we are not at their mercy. We have a rescuer who is there to save us from death. We are reminded by the Apostle Paul that the presence of Jesus Himself, living in us by His Holy Spirit, is the treasure in our fragile lives that is often revealed most powerfully in our times of suffering.
Someone reading this Seed today may feel that they have been struck down and knocked off their feet too many times by life’s waves of pain or difficulty. If that’s you, I pray that you will know the arms of Jesus lifting you up and placing your feet afresh on the solid ground of His love and faithfulness. His promise is true for you. Even though you may have been struck down, you will not be destroyed.
Prayer: Precious Lord Jesus, thank You that, when days seem dark and sorrow’s paths I tread, You, my Saviour, still are with me, and by Your hand I’m safely led. Amen.
Today's Writer : Dean Gardner
Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God’s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God’s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.
You will always know whether you believe in God personally by your impertinent insistence on being an amateur providence for someone else.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART