Jesus Turns Water Into Wine

INTRODUCTION

‘On the third day, a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so, they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.’ John 2:1-11

This is the first of seven signs, miracles. selected by John but all have a purpose; they actively support the claims Jesus made, and are intended to lead to faith. John 20:20-31. Each ‘sign’ is an object lesson to illustrate spiritual truth.

The new wine of the Gospel is contrasted with the water of the old faith. Jesus has come to bring something really new. The result speaks for itself, the miracle had a profound effect on the followers of Jesus.

Cana of Galilee is mentioned only in John’s Gospel, John 4:46 / John 21:2. It is always qualified by the term Galilee. Today we can’t be sure of its precise location. An unknown family in an obscure village which isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament, yet it is the scene of Jesus’ first supernatural act.

Nathaniel came from there. John 2:1-2. The record of days is continued, this being the third day after Jesus left for Galilee. It is strange to see Jesus and the disciples, called only a few days earlier to be invited together.

This causes us to speculate about the possibility of Jesus and the disciples being related even if only distantly, we know that Jesus and John the Baptist were related. It could be that Nathaniel had the initial invitation. An eye-witness account reads like the remembrance of one who was there.

John doesn’t identify the bride, groom or families involved, only Jesus and Mary are named. There’s no mention of Joseph, the assumption that he was much older than Mary, and he had already died is unsupported by evidence, John 6:42.

Mary apparently is in some position of authority; did Mary expect him to ‘work a miracle in the most public manner and reveal his identity’?

This discourse may seem rather abrupt to the casual observer, but the word, ‘woman’, ‘gunai’ wasn’t an impolite or discourteous, term in those days, John 19:26. However the declaration of Jesus ‘Why do you involve me?’ would have been quite normal under the social rules of the time.

‘My hour ‘hora’ has not yet come’ would be referring to the time of launching His ministry. It wasn’t time for him to act, ‘hour’, ‘hora’ often denotes a crisis time, John 7:6 / John 8:20 / John 8:30. Jesus has a specific function to perform in training the disciples. His hour had come in John 12:23 / John 13:1 / John 16:32 / John 17:1.

Jesus’ ‘hour’ referred to his death and glorification, John 17:1. The time of his manifestation as the Messiah were decisions for him and his heavenly Father. Jesus even told Judas whatever you do, do quickly thus beginning the events leading to His crucifixion and beyond.

Mary did not perceive Jesus’ response as being negative. His body language may have told her he would act to save the host the impending embarrassment. He may have been in the process of getting up as He spoke to Mary. She knew one way or another, He would act.

These feasts were very festive occasions, marriage was preceded by betrothal. First, there was a feast then an evening wedding ceremony, on the wedding night there would be a torchlight procession. The groom would go to the bride’s house and bring her to the reception.

The banquet and feast would go on for three days and could even go on for a week. The people would feast, and it was expected that a constant supply of good food and ample drink would be forthcoming. It would have been quite devastating to the host if something as fundamental as the wine were to run out.

The food and drink would have been lavishly spent on as would gifts and all else associated with the feast. Meat, which was rarely eaten due to the cost factor, would have been available in abundance. The wedding and the associated feast were the highlight not only on the social calendar but also in the couple’s lives.

It was most important that all ran smoothly. There were servants present but note the commands given by Mary and Jesus. The servants did what they were told to do and did it to the very best of their ability.

These jars were used for washing, probably being kept at or near the entrance to the house. People would use this water to wash their feet from the journey and before entering the house properly and also the servants would pour water over the hands of the guests as part of the rites of purification, this is still practised in some parts of Israel today. And they were also used for washing before meals.

WHY SIX JARS?

Who knows! The jars were made of stone to assist in keeping water cool and the jars were filled to the brim, indicating between 100 and 120 gallons of wine available. Note that it was the bridegroom who received the praise for the quality of the wine.

The wine was taken to the master of the banquet, John 2:8-10, who played a role similar to that played by the present-day master of ceremonies, and he would also play a role similar to the best man.

The wine made by Jesus was notably superior to that originally supplied. This doesn’t indicate an inferior wine was originally used, but that Jesus made the best, as He now provides the best. The best wine was generally served first so that the people could indulge, and not be able to tell that the wine had deteriorated.

In John 2:11, we can see the result of the miracle. The miracle manifested His glory, showing Jesus’ power over Natural laws, showing His credentials as the Word. Not just to save embarrassment at the wedding, but to bring about greater faith as the disciple did. This was the purpose of his miracles throughout His ministry, John 20:30-31.

THERE ARE LOTS OF DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT THIS WINE, WAS IT ALCOHOLIC OR NOT?

But this passage alone can’t be used to justify or condemn drinking, this isn’t in the context of the verse, the passage is to demonstrate His miraculous power and its result. Don’t miss the trees because you can see the forest.

This miracle was a very fundamental one, Jesus changed the structure of the water, He made it something it wasn’t before. The miracle demonstrated His Deity, it met a real need and it illustrated spiritual truth. John doesn’t say what truth He intends to illustrate, but the obvious idea is change or transformation.

A COMPARISON BETWEEN JESUS’ MIRACLES AND SO-CALLED MODERN-DAY MIRACLES

1. In the miracles of Jesus, the result was immediate, Matthew 8:3 / Matthew 8:15.

2. Faith was not always required on the part of the one involved, John 11:39.

3. Everyone was allowed to come, Matthew 4:24.

4. Jesus healed organic diseases, not just functional ones, Matthew 15:30.

5. The miracles were always public, not private, Matthew 12:9.

6. The person being healed was always made complete, made whole, Matthew 12:13.

7. Miracles were always acknowledged by his enemies, Matthew 12:13.

8. They were not used to make money, Matthew 10:8.

9. The miracles gave God the glory, Acts 3:2.

10. The miracles were always used to support the truth, Hebrews 2:3.

11. They were not used to establish a denomination or promote any sect.

12. The person healed didn’t always have to be present, Matthew 8:5.

13. Sometimes they were performed at the protest of the one being healed, Matthew 8:28.

14. Sometimes they were performed because of the faith of others, Matthew 8:8.

15. He didn’t heal others while having an illness Himself.

16. There was no prior investigation to weed out the wicked.

17. Jesus never tried and failed. Never blame the recipient for lack of faith.

18. Jesus didn’t fail to perform a miracle and then blame the presence of an unbeliever.

19. Jesus didn’t fail and then say it was God’s will.

20. The miracles always proved the power of God, Matthew 9:6.

MENU