Water into wine
Listen or read
This week we are going to study John 2:1-12. So, let’s read the passage, “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. After this, he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.” John 2:1-12
In this passage Jesus performs His first recorded miracle, turning water into wine. One thing that was immediately obvious to me was that Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) is not mentioned in this passage. Many think that Joseph died sometime between when Jesus was twelve and thirty years old. We are also not sure how many of Jesus’ disciples attended the wedding, but there were at least four. One thing we must realize about weddings back then was that they were a multi-day festival. Also, that it would be a disgrace on the families and especially on the bride and groom if they ran out of wine. The wedding was likely a wedding of one of Jesus’ close friends or relatives. So Mary, not wanting the bride and groom to be disgraced, came to Jesus expecting Him to help them. Many think that this was not the first time Jesus had done a miracle, which is supported by the passage in John 2:11, which tells us this was the beginning of the miracles Jesus did in Cana. Mary knew very well who Jesus was and likely knew of His glorified powers.
We can do the same thing Mary did in this passage, we can come to Jesus and ask Him for what we need or want. This was not the only thing Jesus and Mary talked about at the wedding and certainly, Mary would not just talk to Jesus when she needed something. It is the same for us, that we should not just bring our needs and wants before Jesus, but we should also talk to Him all the time, not only when we want or need something. Before we pray we should remember who Jesus is and remember to thank Him for all He has done for us. Mary probably pulled Jesus aside, likely to the kitchen or over to where the servants were serving wine, and told Him they were out of wine, trying to keep it quiet, not wanting to disgrace the bride and groom. Jesus’ reply to His mother is often seen as disrespectful when it is not. Mary came to Jesus with a problem only Jesus could solve before the party found out. So Jesus replied to His mother as God’s Son and not as her son. We see that after Jesus asked what this had to do with Him. She told the servants to do what He told them and left. She did not take offense to His answer but instead prepared for Him to do something. This is the same thing we should do: we should ask and then prepare for God to move on our behalf.
I now want us to think about what Jesus meant by saying, My hour has not come, the second part of this reply to Mary. Most of us likely think that this means that Jesus was not planning to start doing public miracles yet. For once He started doing the public miracles and signs, then it was only a matter of time before the Pharisees would kill Him. I think that this is perhaps what this means and I like the way The Chosen pulled this together with the time Jesus was at the temple in Season 1 Episode 5. Also, if you have not watched The Chosen you should check it out, it is great. It would also make sense that maybe He was not planning on performing this miracle, but saw that it would grow the faith of His disciples (John 2:11). This is how I thought until I studied this passage this week. Now I think that it was more likely that Mary came to Jesus as the wine was running out and He said His hour has yet not come because the wine had not run out yet so that no one would think that He mixed the wine with water. When the wine was completely gone then His hour came and He told the servants to fill the stone pots with water to the brim and turned the water to wine. It was probably the best wine ever made, finely aged and perfect. This shows us that sometimes we need to wait for His answer because when we wait others get to see His glory.
Then He told the servants to serve it to the master of the feast. Who was most likely like a wedding planner today or maybe the person just overseeing that night or could have been the honored guest of that night. The master of the feast said that it was better wine than what they had been serving before that point, which was unusual because most of the time once people had drunk freely and were less sharp they served the wine that was lower quality. This shows that this was not in fact grape juice as some today claim, it was wine similar to what we have today. Be careful of those who teach otherwise, because if they can bend on one point then they can bend on others. I am not saying to leave or not to listen to them, just know that it was real wine, but it is a sin to become drunk. I do not think most of us realize the volume of water He turned into wine, it was roughly 120-180 gallons of wine. That is enough wine to fill the average American bathtub 4 times. Many think this was way more than was needed for the party, but we do not know how many people were at the festival or how much longer the wedding was going to last. Some think that it was likely too much to be used at the wedding and that it was a gift to the newlyweds to help them start their lives.
One thing many do not think about when studying this passage is that Moses’s first public miracle was also turning water into something else and that was water into blood in Exodus 7:14-25. I think it was worth looking at especially since many think that the day Jesus did this miracle was on Maimonides the day that Israel remembers the signs that Moses did in the wilderness. Moses brought the law which we could not fulfill, just like the water that turned into blood in the Nile which they could not drink, whereas Jesus turned water into wine, wine which we could drink just like the grace that Jesus brought. It allows us to be able to live with Him forever. It is a cup we can drink. But, just like the wine we should not drink to excess, when we come to Jesus we should not continue to sin, but we should drink of His living water and thirst no more and no longer sin. When we do sin, we do not lose our salvation, we grieve the Holy Spirit. If you would like to live with Him forever all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.
So this week remember to pray and thank God for everything He has done for you. Also, remember that Jesus brings grace for everyone, that none should perish, but all should live forever with Him. Also, know that if you are a Christian when you gather together in His name He will be there.
Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John