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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)

TITLE: A Taste of Splendor
By Amanda Brogan


The day was beautiful. The warm Galilean sun shone its favor on the packed courtyard where the celebration was taking place. Crawling vines and vibrant flowers covered the stone walls and entrance gates. Guests were dressed in their best robes, though most of them did not own expensive clothing, but they wore their best nonetheless. They mingled together, laughing, dancing, and enjoying the choicest food and wine.

This feast could hold nothing but the best – nothing but perfection. Why? Because this was a celebration that my master had gleefully anticipated all year.

The week of his wedding feast.

I glanced up from the wine I was pouring for a rather rotund guest to catch a peek at the couple. They were staring into each other’s eyes, unmatchable smiles lighting up their faces. I wondered if they had even sipped the wine in their hands.

I focused again on my work just as the big man flashed me a yellow-toothed grin and bellowed, “Keep that wine coming, young man! The best I’ve ever tasted.”

“Yes, sir.” I nodded. Turning, I smiled to myself.

The best he said. Everything was flawless, and that’s how it would remain until the feast’s end. I would help make sure of it.

I crossed to the long table at the opposite end of the courtyard to see if anyone on that side needed refreshment. It took a lot of dodging but I made it with my wine jar in one piece. Something caught the corner of my eye and I noticed that the headwaiter himself was motioning to me. I quickly made my way to the front of the courtyard where he was seated.

He extended his glass coolly, “More wine, please.”

With ease I filled the glass – halfway. I looked into my jug. Nothing but wet pottery glistened back at me.

“Excuse me, sir, but it appears that I’ll need to refill my pitcher.”

“Very well.” He nodded. “Have the guests been receiving their fill?”

“Yes, sir. Everyone has had plenty.”

“Excellent.” He took a sip from his half-filled cup.

Back through the crowd I wormed to the place where the large containers of wine were kept. I dipped in my pitcher, but encountered only air. I reached deeper. Nothing. To my horror, I looked in the container to find it empty. It shouldn’t have run out already. I glanced in the next pot but it, too, was empty.

I dropped my pitcher and placed my head in my hands.

Oh no, this can’t be happening!

A hand touched my shoulder. I lifted my head to see the concerned eyes of a woman, probably in her fifties.

“Is everything alright?”

“No, ma’am, I’m afraid it’s not. We’ve … run out of wine.”

By her anxious look, I knew that she understood the problem as well. It could mean public shame for the groom if the wine ran out.

“Wait here.” She said, weaving through the crowd.

She stopped some distance away, before a man in sand-colored robes. I couldn’t distinguish what they were saying, but I saw something in her eyes as she talked with him – trust.

She came back to me. “Do whatever he tells you.”

Whatever he tells me? What does she mean?

It looked as though the man wasn’t going to tell me anything, but slowly he approached.

He motioned to me and a few other servants and then pointed to a row of huge stone waterpots at the gateway. “Fill them with water.”

But those are for purification – washing hands.

I didn’t voice my puzzlement, but simply obeyed him as the woman had said.

The other servants and I made several trips to the well, carrying gallons upon gallons until the pots were filled to the brim.

We looked to the man, wondering what on earth he would have us do next.

How does this help our wine problem? I thought.

He turned to me, “Take some to the headwaiter.”

What?! Serve him water?

Tentatively, I dipped my pitcher into the closest waterpot. But when I drew it out I noticed that the water was no longer clear. It was dark as wine.

Soon I was back at the headwaiter’s seat, filling his cup with the fresh liquid.

He took a sip, and to my surprise, his eyes lit up.

I watched him summon the groom and whisper, “Most people serve the best wine first, but you’ve saved it until now.”

He gulped down a long drink, “Ah! Now that’s perfect!”

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This article has been read 547 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood07/23/10
This was very, very good! Just from reading this, I now have greater clarity to the story of the miracle of Jesus turning the water to wine. I love it when I read a Bible story re-told by a modern-day author because the next time I read it in the Bible, I seem to understand it better. You drew me in to the scene of the wedding and the extreme distress of the young waiter. Excellent writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/24/10
This was a nice enhancement to the miracle in the Bible.
Timothy Klingerman07/27/10
You did a great job of showing the roller coaster of emotions that the servant must have experienced - from idyllic dream to nightmare of reality, but then, thanks to Jesus, he awakens to a reality sweeter than his initial dream. You captured the whole movement of the Bible from the garden to banishment to glory, all in 750 words!
Caitlyn Meissner07/27/10
Very good idea for a "taste" story! I love how you wrote this from the first person viewpoint of the servant, and showed us all the pertinent information through his actions, thoughts, and emotions. Good job!
Lollie Hofer07/27/10
I like how you brought this Biblical story to life. Good job.
Karen Pourbabaee 07/27/10
Perfectly delightful!
Colin Swann07/28/10
I enjoyed your re-working of this Bible story but had to smile at the 'head waiter' bit.
Some say this was Jesus first miracle (maybe public) but it seems Mary knew better.

Shirley McClay 07/28/10
Right on topic for taste!

One small note... Mary would have had Jesus in her early teens so she would have been in her forties when he did this miracle.

Great job with putting us right there in the moment. Even knowing the outcome I was worried for the poor guy!
Sarah Elisabeth 07/28/10
Though I knew where it was going, I still enjoyed the journey through your telling of this familiar story. Good job!
Beth LaBuff 07/28/10
I loved your detail in this story and how you set a celebratory mood, and then the contrast with the urgency of the wine being gone. Very nice!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/28/10
Excellent descriptions in your story brought the scene to life.
Edmond Ng 07/28/10
Ahh ... the wedding at Cana! An interesting read from a different point of view.
Benjamin Graber07/29/10
Great job bringing this Bible story to life, Amanda! I love the POV. It would have been amazing to have witnessed Jesus' first miracle.