The man with the jar of water


Humility and discipleship

Jesus “sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him’ “ (NRSV, Mark 13:13)

When Jesus went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, he knew with absolute certainty that his enemies would bring about his judicial murder.

They had probably worked out the details after the raising of Lazarus from the dead, but the arrest itself needed careful handling.  Jesus enjoyed some measure of popular support, not only locally as a result of the raising of Lazarus (John 12:12, 17-19) but also among the pilgrims from Galilee who were in the city in strength; and any attempt to make a public arrest was likely to spark off a riot.

That was something which the chief priests wanted at all costs to avoid because, with nationalistic feeling running high in the tense and excited atmosphere of the festival, a riot could all too easily flare up into a complete breakdown of law and order.  This would turn the streets and lanes of the overcrowded city into a battlefield as the Roman security troops moved in with their protective shields and drawn swords.

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