Turning Wine into Water

But only because Jesus’ mother and her servants did as he asked. They made him the master of this banquet, the King of this kingdom. Then he used them to do what they could, while he did what they could not. And the result was a miracle which blessed an entire village and caused his disciples to “put their faith in him” (v. 11).


Max Ehrmann wrote “Desiderata” in 1927. Over the years his poem has been made into plaques and posters, a Grammy-award winning song, and the mantra for a generation. Here’s how it ends:

You are a child of the universe,no less than the trees and the stars;you have a right to be here.And whether or not it is clear to you,no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,whatever you conceive Him to be,and whatever your labors and aspirations,in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,it is still a beautiful world.Be cheerful.Strive to be happy.

“Desiderata” is the theme song for a movement which has been going on for nearly 200 years in this culture. A spiritual movement has been afoot in America since the early 19th century. It is a movement which has come to affect every living American and every attender of Park Cities Baptist Church. It affects me every day of my life, and you as well.

At the dawn of the 19th century, the world was becoming a smaller place. Americans began to interact with world religions; many were drawn to mysticism of Eastern faiths and a desire to combine religions into a unified search for truth and happiness.

An outcry began for racial reconciliation, the abolition of slavery, the rights of women and workers. The organized churches of the day seemed insensitive to these issues, if not the enemy of such progress.

Meditation techniques practiced in solitude became popular. Thoreau’s Walden became sacred for many, teaching us that we can find God on our own terms.

Darwin’s evolutionary theories caused many to see the Bible as myth rather than truth. It became popular to view Christianity as personal spirituality rather than objective, authoritative truth.

These various movements have coalesced in our lifetime.

We now live in a culture which is convinced that spirituality is subjective and personal, that truth is individual and practical. There are many roads up the same mountain, for God has many names. We can be “spiritual” without being religious.

The objective authority of God’s word has been replaced by the subjective authority of our own desires and plans. We can abuse alcohol, view pornography, or engage in sexual activity as much as we want, so long as we don’t hurt anyone else.

We go to church for what we can get out of it. We choose a church or even a religion as consumers choose a shopping mall or a civic club. We have turned the wine of divine revelation into the water of personal opinion. And the well is running dry.

What are we to do?

Make God your King again. Hear Jesus’ first sermon: “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Pray with all your heart, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Abdicate the throne of your heart and put him on it.

Make him your King, then resolve to extend his Kingdom. Give him your problems, your future, your church. And do whatever he says. Know that it’s not about you. Worship is not for us but for him. How we worship is not nearly as important as Who we worship. Decide that you want to extend his Kingdom in Dallas and around the world, that you want to be part of a church which will do whatever it takes to help Dallas know Jesus as Lord.

And know that he makes the best wine. He can do so much more with us than we can do with ourselves. We worship a God who would bless a peasant wedding, who would meet a personal need with his divine best. He loves us, and likes us, and wants to give our lives his purpose and joy. He is waiting to turn our water into his wine. But he can bless only the wedding where he is welcome and he is King.


Where have you run out of wine today? What is the great challenge of your heart and soul today? Put Jesus on that throne. Make him its King. Seek his word and will on that very issue, then ask his Spirit to give you the strength to do what God says.

Make him the King of your church. Ask him to turn our water into his wine, to use our worship and ministries to extend his Kingdom in Dallas and around the world.

In coming weeks, as we walk through more miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of John, we’ll find practical ways to make God our King. Today you have come to the coronation service. Today is the day to crown him your King.

When I visit England I always make time for the Tower of London and its display of the Crown Jewels. Valued at around $30 million today, they are worn only when a new sovereign assumes the throne or other significant affairs of state commence. The rest of the time they are on display for tourists like me.

The crown of the Kingdom of God is not a museum showpiece. It is being worn today, right now. You are wearing it, or you have given it to Jesus. You will drink today your water or his wine.

Choose wisely.