As we think of God’s abundance and how hard it is to live into that sometimes, I was reminded of an African story that is kind of the opposite of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana. It really gives “food for thought.”
A Nigerian tribal chief sent out his messengers to invite all of the men of the tribe to a great feast. “All of the food will be provided,” they announced, “but each man must bring one jug of palm wine.”
Ezra wanted to attend the great festival very much, but he had no wine. He paced the floor trying to think of a solution for his dilemma. Finally his wife suggested, “You could buy a jug of wine. It is not too expensive for such a great occasion.”
“How foolish,” Ezra cried, “to spend money when there is a way to go free.” Once again he paced until he came upon a plan. “Rather than wine I will carry water in my jug. Several hundred men will attend the festival. What will it hurt to add one jug of water to the great pot of wine?”
On the day of the feast the tribal drums began to beat early in the morning, reminding the people of the great festival. All of the men came dressed in their finest clothes, gathering by midmorning at the home of the chief. As each man entered the tribal grounds, he poured his jug of wine into a large earthen pot. Ezra carefully poured the contents of his container into the pot, greeted the chief, and joined the dancers.
When all of the guests arrived, the chief commanded the music to cease and ordered the servants to fill everyone’s glass with wine. As the chief spoke the opening words of the festival, all of the guests raised their glasses and drank. Suddenly a cry of disbelief arose from the crowd, and they quickly drank again. What they tasted was not wine, but water. Each guest had decided that his one jug of water could not spoil the great pot of palm wine.