On the surface of the Western mind, we really don’t see an issue with this directive from Jesus. He sent His disciples to meet a man carrying water, who will show them where they were to eat the Passover meal. Notice in the text the room has not only been identified by this man, but the room itself already has been prepared for the meal. Let’s not read over all of this too quickly, or we will miss the greatness of God at work. Before we take a closer look into Mark 14:13, I want you to pause and contemplate three things in the text that we usually read without giving it much thought. First, there is a man carrying water who is looking for the disciples. His task is to take them to the room where Jesus and the disciples will eat the Passover. Lastly, when he takes them there, everything is already prepared and awaiting Jesus and the Twelve. How did all of this happen? See what I mean? Sometimes we need to slow down and drink deeply from the text.
Back to the man carrying water - what’s the big deal? Let’s first consider this, as a little background music for the text. During Passover, an estimated 2 million Jews cram into the city (wall to wall people), so in human congestion of this magnitude, how can you expect to find anyone? Look for a man carrying water. Once again notice the wisdom of God at work. The carrying of water usually was considered woman’s work. It was common for them to carry water, but few men performed this task. Of those males who carried water on a semi-regular basis, they were either slaves, or Essenes. Water carrying was commonplace for these two groups of men, however neither of these fulfilled the reference Jesus gave the disciples. When the disciples carefully followed His directions, this guy stood out like a sore thumb; and they successfully executed the task they were given. They could have complained about the difficulty of finding anyone in such a crowded place, but they didn’t. They followed Jesus, and everything was as He said. Perhaps there is a lesson somewhere in there for all of us, as He instructs us through His word.