Letter received (by email) from Michael M. Duggan that was published in the “Readers’ Perspective” column of Jerusalem Perspective 55 (April-June 1999): 9. Duggan was commenting on Ronny Reich’s article, “Six Stone Water Jars.”
I am intrigued by the water pots. Jesus is the rock of our Salvation, and as the stone, cannot be made impure. We are made of clay, and like pottery, once impure, must be broken and discarded. God is the potter; we are the clay. Jesus is not only the stone, but the living water contained in the water pots. In order to bring us the living water, Jesus (the stone) had to be emptied of His glory (hollowed out), and the top of the water pot was crowned with a wooden lid, just as Jesus was crowned with a crown of thorns. This ties it all back to the curse in Genesis, where man’s curse is to work by the sweat of his brow, and the land would bear thorns — the judgment for sin which Jesus took to the cross. The crowning achievement of the stone while on earth was to take the judgment of the world, the crown of thorns, to the cross.
Joseph Frankovic responds:
Your creative treatment of the stone water jars and Jesus is a fascinating synthesis of the archaeological data and Christian theological conclusions about Jesus’ death on the cross. Nevertheless, JP encourages its readers to refrain from viewing Jesus’ life, ministry and teachings through an allegorical prism. One of the consequences of allegorically interpreting Jesus’ life, ministry and teachings is a blurring of his unique place in a specific social, cultural and linguistic context within history.
While your Jesus-Stone Jar allegorization relies on accurate archaeological information, it subjects the text to an exegetical method with which I rarely feel comfortable. I recommend that when studying, teaching, preaching, or devotionally reading the Bible, Christians resort sparingly to allegorization. Based on the first three Gospels, Jesus did not allegorize Scripture, and Paul did so rarely (e.g., Gal. 4:21–31).