One of life’s great discoveries is the difference between the words possible and probable. This week we continue being attracted by Jesus’ signs to the person and mission of the Sign Maker. He continues to make gestures that make him and his ways possible to some and improbable to others.
The Gospel according to John has the first twelve chapters highlighting signs of not only the power of Jesus but also of his desire to provoke responses. There is always the apparently impossible to these signs. “They have no wine.” “You have no bucket.” “We have only five loaves and two fish, but what are they among so many?” Jesus creates discussion and opposition by moving from the impossible to the sign. There are always the surface tensions of not having with the inner tension of believing or not believing.
We are invited this week to pray with our own resolves and responses. We are hearing his call to be signs ourselves. We wonder with the woman at the well at this man who has told us everything about ourselves. He offers us more than insight: a living water that will always sustain us. “How can this be?” We know we are being given new sight to see Jesus when others do not. Is he real to us? “Show him to me and I will worship.” Now we see him, now we don’t. We have been raised from a deadness but is this real life? We have been in the tomb a long time. Things can seem probable, but are they at all possible in the realness of our simple lives?
The Book of Signs in John’s Gospel prepares us disciples to more freely live our sign value by trusting in the possible with him who changed the alienated into a believer, blindness into faith sight, and death into life.
We pray from our skeptical side as well. Jesus’ signs confounded many and they no longer followed him. He has given us hard sayings, and we wonder whether we can stay possible with him as he moves into even greater opposition and conflict. We pray with our fears as he moves from provoker to the suspected, resented, and condemned.
This week we pray with he who changes the meaning of water, light, and life for us. We pray with our attractions and our fears; we pray with our doubts and our desires to continue to follow him. “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”