the short story project


James Rajanayagam

The First Miracle

           “The guests want more wine to be served. All the jars are finished, Master,” the servant stood in front of Talmai.

            He could see the large crowd of men in the open yard under the tent enjoying the feast. Many were seen speaking loudly with laughter.

            Talmai couldn’t believe what he heard. He had checked personally the previous evening all the provisions and the conditions of about half a dozen jars.

            For a moment, his faith asserted. But reality took over.

            He broke down because the promise was not fulfilled, blessing not realized and honor turned into disgrace.

            “Today you have brought the first produce from your land. Your Lord heard your prayers and protected your vineyard from the locusts. The Lord is pleased to accept your offering. You shall keep a portion of the harvest as wine for the celebration of the grand occasion in your home,” the priest had blessed the offering.

            Talmai didn’t understand the grand occasion. He was doubtful whether it is the occasion of his first son’s marriage.

            “Yes!” nodded the priest.

            The words and the images were so clear as if it happened recently…

            It was twenty years ago!

            That was when Talmai had bought a piece of land on the slopes of the hill outside Cana, started the vineyard along with maize in the plains.

            Talmai felt as if the earth beneath his feet had ruptured. He shuddered to think that the grandeur would become contemptible, honor would turn to disgrace…

            He rushed outside to the backyard to escape the scorn of the town. He went towards the fig tree and remained there broken-hearted, sobbing and seemed to be in prayer.

            He didn’t know how long he was like that. He was disturbed by the footsteps and noise of people. He opened his eyes to see his servants surrounding him.

            He dreaded to hear the bad news from them.

            Finally, one of the servants took a step forward and said, “Master, we have been searching for you and found you here. The feast is going well. The master of the feast wanted to find out from you why the best wine was served at the end. All the guests were so happy.”

           Talmai thought the servants were making fun of him and wanted to laugh at himself, but he replied, “why? There was no wine at all.”

           “Yes!” replied the servants and continued, “Someone transformed the jars of water into wine.”

            For some reason, the words of the priest flashed through his mind. He   realized the grandness of the occasion. Yes, this is!

            He felt exhilarated.

            He saw the servants going back from the shade of the tree.

            “What was the name of this man?” shouted Talmai.

            “Yeshua!” was the reply.


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