Jesus Turns Water to Wine at a Wedding (His First Miracle)
WEEK 44: Jesus Turns Water into Wine at the Wedding of Cana (His First Miracle).
John 2:1-11 1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and His disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, they have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, whatsoever He saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.
It is rather significant that John mentions the third day. He is referring to the third day after Jesus had left Judea. It was a two-day walk to Galilee, and they would have arrived on the morning of the third day. This mention of the third day is a reference to what is clearly evident elsewhere in the Scriptures: it is a reference to the fact of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus had not yet taken place, of course, but even in the prophetic Scriptures of the Old Testament there is a reference to the third day as being the day in which Israel would be spiritually healed and returned to her Lord.
Hosea 6:1-2 1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
Here, then, is the first hint in this account of the significance of this miracle of changing water into wine: it was a miracle of transformation, of bringing life out of death. We are given here a hint of what this miracle symbolizes.
Cana was a tiny village in Galilee, not far from Nazareth. During the time Jesus’ family had lived there and they had made friends all over the area Mary was in Cana attending a wedding. The way this is worded, it sounds like Mary was helping with the wedding. As would be appropriate if Mary was an official part of it, it would stand to reason that this wasn’t merely commentary she was giving – it was an appeal for Him to do something about it. Here’s why. A Jewish wedding feast often lasted for several days, and was accompanied by a lot of music, dancing, story-telling, all around plenty of food and drink which could last over 4, 5, or even 7 days. That was a Jewish wedding feast! The bride’s family was responsible for providing all the refreshments, while others brought the entertainment.
Everyone was to contribute to the celebration in some way. The only thing that could spoil the party was if it started raining, or if they ran out of food and drink, especially drink, which was wine. Even if it rained, they could move indoors – but if the wine dried up, people would pack up and go home feeling like they had not been given the proper hospitality. Worst still and forever after – the newlywed couple would bear the stigma of being stingy and rude. If you ran out of wine at your wedding, you would probably have to hang your head in shame for the rest of your life in that village. That’s why Mary went to Jesus. She knew who He was, and she thought He might have a solution to the crisis.
It sounds like He’s saying, “SO?!? What’s that got to do with Me”? But that isn’t it at all. This isn’t the “Woman”, of “Hey woman, get me a glass of water”! This is a respectful, “Ma’am”. Though Mary is His mother and their relationship is warm and close, Jesus shows a deep parental respect for her. He asked what a failure of the wine has to do with Him. He knows what she is suggesting, but He tells her that the time for Him to begin His ministry has not yet come. While this seems to shut the door on her request, there was something in the way He said it that encouraged her to press on.
Verses 4-5: 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, whatsoever He saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
One of the rituals the Pharisees had spread among the people was an elaborate process for washing hands before eating. This ritual required a lot of fresh water, so 6 large vessels stood by for the many days of the celebration. Since the feast had been going on for a while, the pots needed to be refilled.
Verses 7-8: 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
With 120 to 180 gallons of wine, they wouldn’t have to worry about having enough. There would be more and enough to spare. Of course, the wine Jesus made was the best wine ever consumed. However, the miracle was witnessed only by the servants and the disciples. It was done quietly, without either the guests or the newlyweds even knowing. Jesus performed His first miracle in near secret – and all for one thing – to save a young couple from a life of shame – to make sure the joy of their wedding wasn’t tainted by something as silly as running out of drinks.
The servants played a vital role in this first miracle too. They were told to fill the firkins with water – yet they knew the wedding guests needed wine. Bearing in mind that this was Jesus’ first miracle, so no one in the region had yet seen Him manifest His power and glory; it would have been so easy for the servants to refuse to obey that order. They themselves risked ridiculed, a beating, humiliation and possibly the sack. Why serve the guests with water when they require wine? It was a leap of faith that allowed the servants to follow through on the order to fill up the firkins with water. How absurd they must of thought! Mary had told them “WHATEVER” He says to you – DO IT!!! May that be our portion too – that once we KNOW that the Master has spoken – we will not procrastinate; we will not delay; we will not decipher; we will not pontificate; we will not defy Him – may we JUST DO IT!!! So while the setting and nature of this miracle may not fit our expectations, it’s perfect as the preface to Jesus’ mission. He came humbly and quietly to remove our shame and fill our lives with joy by making us His bride.
Our Saviour is able to take any seemingly impossible circumstance that we encounter and turn it around into an odour full of sweet smelling, flavoured, fragranced, beautiful and tasteful wine. He will do this for us IF we allow Him. IF we walk faithfully with Him. IF we believe in Him. IF we trust Him. IF we are anchored to Him. He will do it.
Verse 11: This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.