On one occasion Yeshua (Jesus) gave orders to Shimon (Peter) and Yohanan (John) to prepare for the Passover ahead of the disciples’ arrival: “Enter a city, then look for a man carrying a jar of water. Follow him and ask the person in charge to offer hospitality. He will show you a large room.” This is exactly what happened (Luke 22:7-13).
When Josephus Flavius describes the diaconal network that the Essenes, a Jewish group who were equal in number to the Pharisees, he writes: “They have no one certain city, but many of them dwell in every city; and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have they give to them …there is, in every city where they live, one appointed particularly to take care of strangers…” (Wars 2:124). Josephus also confirmed what we already know from other sources: many of the Essenes did not marry – choosing instead to dedicate themselves wholly to God.
So why did the disciples need to look for a man carrying a water jar? The answer is simple.
In an agricultural society, it was the exclusive duty of women to carry water. A man carrying a water jar could mean only one thing – this adult man had no wife and therefore he must have belonged to the Essene community!
Did Jesus know the future? Absolutely! He was familiar with the diaconal network of the Essene movement and he knew exactly what would happen next.
This article originally appeared on Israel Study Center, May 29, 2017, and reposted with permission.