A Man Carrying A Water Jar
“Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."
"Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.
He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, `The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there."
Have you ever wondered about the upper room? Think about it. Jesus wasn’t with his family for Passover, and he was a much criticized and dangerous person to the Pharisees. It wasn’t like he could go to the “Upper Room Inn”. He needed a secret place - a special place. And so he sent the disciples to prepare the predestined location by finding a man carrying a water jar. It is an amazing, important image too often overlooked.
A man carrying a water jar. A MAN carrying a water jar? In the words of my early childhood educator (Big Bird from Sesame Street), which of these things don’t belong? Men in the First Century Mid-Eastern culture did NOT carry water jars. That was a woman’s duty. It was an extremely feminine act. Yet this humbled man, who probably drew much scorn from his neighbors, led the disciples to the Upper Room.
It doesn’t surprise me that Jesus would find shelter in the home of someone who wasn’t caught up in roles or ego; who didn’t worry about what was “woman’s work” or a “manly job”. This image (found in both Mark and Luke) serves to remind us that God appreciates both the masculine and feminine in each of us, and envisions a world where the purpose isn’t defeated by the status, gender, education, orientation, or race of the person.
Where did the man carrying the water jar lead them? To the room of the Last Supper, to the chance to share in the bread, and the cup, and the future of the faith. He led them to the Passover feast, where teacher and students, shepherd and sheep, betrayer and betrayed all ate together.
When we let go of our preconceived notions of who does what, we embrace service with our full hearts and we lead others to the upper room of faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ is described frequently as “water to the thirsty”. Are you willing to carry the water jar?