Now let’s add to the timeline, and you’ll see something puzzling. The man and Jesus had a brief conversation that couldn’t have taken more than two or three minutes. Here’s what Scripture records: “When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders,’ Jesus told him, ‘you will never believe.’ The royal official said, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’ ‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live’” (John 4:47–50).
After that brief exchange it was probably about 1:05 p.m. What did the man do next? Remarkably, the text says, “The man took Jesus at his word and departed” (v. 50).
At this point the text rushes us right along, and we tend not to pause and put two and two together. The next verse says, “While he was still on the way …” (v. 51). If we read too quickly, we picture the man leaving Jesus and immediately heading home. But that’s not what he did. How do we know? Because he didn’t meet his servants on the road until the next day. This is incredible! He did not rush right home. He could have made it. It was only 1:05. Yes, he had already walked eighteen miles that day, and another eighteen would have been a challenge. But again, who cared? His son was dying!
If I were in that situation I would glance at my watch, calculate when I could get home, realize I could be there before nightfall, take into consideration that it would be an easier and quicker trip being a downward slope from Cana to Capernaum, and would have hightailed it. Within a mile of home, I would have quickened my pace even more, probably breaking out into a sprint when I neared my street and saw my house in the distance. Then I would have burst through the front door, breathlessly shouting, “Is he alive? Is he alive?”
Yet a loving father who went to desperate lengths to seek Jesus’ help on the chance He would drop everything and come heal his boy didn’t head home on Monday. He waited around Cana until Tuesday morning with no email or phone to check on his son. His hope rested in Jesus’ word, and he took it to heart. That’s remarkable faith! I’d love to have that kind of confidence in Jesus’ reassuring words. But hold your horses; you know too much. It’s not the kind of faith we think it is. Let’s move on.