From the President

Follow the Man Carrying the Water

I’m sure there were times in the disciples’ lives when, after Jesus told them to do something, their reaction might have been, “Are you kidding me? You want me to do that?!”

Mark 14:12-16 is one of those times. It’s the Passover — the preeminent Jewish celebration — and the disciples are wondering where they will celebrate the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians by the hand of their loving and powerful God.

Jesus tells two of His disciples (Mark doesn’t tell us who they are, but Luke does — Peter and John) to do something that sounds strange from the start. “Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’”

Jerusalem at this time would have been jammed. Thousands of pilgrims came to the city during Passover and the crowds would have been immense. How would you find one specific man in that congested place? They were to look for a man carrying a jar of water. That might have helped some because it would have been highly unusual to see a man carrying water (traditionally a woman’s job in that culture), but it would still have seemed impossible with the thousands of people walking about.

And the man with the water was only part of the solution. They were to follow him to a house and ask the owner where the room was. What if they couldn’t find the man? What if the owner of the house said, “There are no guest rooms available. Others made their reservations way before you.” Or, “I have no idea who you are. Now get out of here!”

But that didn’t happen. They found the man carrying water, they met the owner of the house and what he had for them was the best: “a large room upstairs, furnished and ready.” It was not a cramped space in a dirty corner of the house. It was large, it was upstairs (maybe with a view and access to a cool breeze), and it was furnished and ready. Jesus had told them “make preparations for us there” but it doesn’t sound like the two disciples would have much to do. So many preparations had already
been made!

Jesus could have made this a whole lot simpler. He could have said, “Go to 320 Date Street; you know where that is. Mr. Shadrach is the owner and he’s expecting you. I’ve paid him in advance and he will have a nice room for you. Make sure it’s ready.”

But He didn’t. He told them to go, and they went not knowing if they’d be able to find the person in the crowd, much less a man carrying water. 

I think because Peter and John did what Jesus asked, and because they were obedient, they were able to walk away from this experience saying, “You can always trust Jesus. It happened just as He said it would!” And, “When Jesus does something, He does it well. Can you believe the house, the room, the furnishings, the preparations? What an amazing person we follow.” And maybe even, “Can you believe what we would have missed if we had said, ‘Jesus, find someone else to do this. We’ve got too much on our plates already.’”

Jesus has prepared a place for us. Now. Later in life. And finally at our death (or “promotion to glory” as our friends in the Salvation Army say). He says, “I have gone to prepare a place for you.” He is trustworthy, He is amazing, He is generous, He does all things well and we are in good hands when we place ours in the hands of the Master.

In Young Life, He is also preparing places for lost kids. And we get to be part of the preparation. Let’s remember to obey Jesus and follow the guy with the water.​​​