The carpenter’s son had a knack for telling a good story, and began to think of himself as a great teacher. He had gained a fair following among people who plainly had nothing better to do.*
Now there was a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee. And behold, someone thought it was a good idea to invite Jesus – AND his disciples! For verily, his mother was the caterer, and was worried that her little boy wasn’t eating properly. And it also seemed a good idea to the bride and groom, because Jesus was eloquent and quick with a funny story.
“If we invite him, he will entertain us” they said, “and we will not bear the shame of Uncle Simon getting drunk and telling that story about how he sold pork ribs to that rabbi in Gerasa!”
The feast was going well. People were having a good time. The carpenter was telling a story about his father working in his shop and smiting his thumb with a hammer.
“And he yelled my name so loud, I think all of Nazareth must have heard it! It is odd, but it kind of caught on after that. I thought it was sort of funny, so I’d go into the shop sometimes, pretend to stub my toe, and then yell, ‘Me!’ just to get dad’s goat. I think that’s one of the reasons he was glad to see me take up another line of work entirely.” And the guests all laughed, and toasted the groom and bride for the sixth time that day.
But, alas! The wedding party ran out of wine! And is it any wonder? For many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen! As Rabbi Shmueli has said, “There are three things a fishermen never has his fill of: strong drink, lures, and stories about the one that got away.” And Jesus himself was quite fond of the wineskin. Unlike Dunking John,** Jesus is widely regarded as a glutton and a drunkard – and the life of the party.
Not so his mother. She called him into the kitchen.
“Jesus,” she spat, “We’re out of wine already! Do something about it!”
“Mom!” whined the irritated man, “Why are you trying to drag me into this? It’s not MY wedding!”
“No, but it’s YOUR disciples who drank this feast drier than Idumea!”
“But I was just about to tell the story about the tenants in the vineyard. That one kills every time! Besides, you’re the caterer. Why don’t YOU do something about it?”
“I *am* doing something about it!” Then she said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there was in the kitchen among the servants, a certain young man named Melvin. He was apprenticed to his father as a wine seller. Hearing that they had no more wine, he said unto Mary and Jesus, “I have the key to my father’s wine shop. We can go there now and purchase all that you need.”
And straightway he went out into the night, pleased at the thought of his ingenuity and salesmanship – and of his commission on this after-hours sale. But before he was half-way there, Melvin saw that he was alone. Neither Jesus nor his mother had followed him, for they had not heard him speak about the wine.
Upon entering the house again, he saw that the guests were all drinking joyously, their wine being dipped from six stone water jars that were typically used for ceremonial washing! Leave it to a carpenter and his pushy mother to ruin a host’s perfectly good ritual water jars by filling them with wine! And what sort of wedding party needs 200 gallons of wine, anyway?
*I mean it! One of his disciples was a tax collector! Already he has no options for a social life as a Jew of good standing! Another was a Zealot – and considering he was alive and not in jail, not a very active one! Several were among the worst professional fishermen ever to sail; going entire nights without catching anything! And one fellow had nothing better to do than sit under a fig tree!
**Melvin’s nickname for John the Baptist.