A continuation on my reflections as I study the book of John
-The wedding at Cana/Jesus Turns Water to Wine
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days. John 2:1-11
The first miraculous sign by Jesus is set at a marriage ceremony in Cana of Galilee. It is the hometown of Nathaniel, one of Jesus’s disciples (John 21:2). Cana was a small town and of little significance. Jesus and His disciples―at that time there were five; Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and John― were invited to the ceremony, and Jesus thought it necessary to honor the invitation. Mary the mother of Jesus was also present at the feast.
At some point during the feast, they ran out of wine, and Mary brought the attention of Jesus to that fact. It could be that Mary was a friend of the family or a relation to one of the parties involved. It is understood in Jewish culture that it is a huge embarrassment for wine to run out at such a feast. Jesus response to Mary’s gesture was not quite welcoming. Not that He was rude, but He was highlighting that the fullness of time had not yet come for Him to manifest. Nonetheless Mary instructed that the servants carry out whatever command Jesus issued.
One would think that from Mary’s gesture she knew by experience that Jesus was capable of producing results at such difficult times. It must have been common practice for Jesus to offer counsel that confounded natural logic in the midst of seemingly impossible situations which produced outstanding results “for the wisdom of God is foolishness to man” (1 Cor.1:25)
The Holy Spirit thought it necessary to state that there were six waterpots reserved to hold water for the Jewish rights of purification, each one large enough to hold between twenty and thirty gallons. This is a picture of the Old Order. Jesus instructed that these waterpots be filled with water. After this He asked that the servants draw “some” out to be served to the master of the feast. Notice He didn’t say “draw some water out…” He was careful with His words. When the master of the feast tasted the drink, he was amazed at the quality of the wine and said “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
The turning of the water into wine was the first sign; the expression of His divine powers in a public setting. In this story we see a picture of the Old and New Covenant. The old way of thinking is that you put up your best front and when people have been deceived and convinced of the phoniness, and then you begin to bring out the subpar.
God’s way is to save the best for the last. We see the Old covenant here passing away. The rituals and rights of purification are to be no more―represented by the empty water pots―and on the other hand, the joy associated with the New Covenant as it is being poured out. In the New Covenant is the sweetness of the gospel.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.
Before this joy can be experienced, one must obey the simplicity and irrationality of the command “fill the waterpots…take some to the master of the feast”. The gospel is a simple message, and it is foolishness to human logic, but with obedience comes the sweet experience of salvation.
The quality of the wine was said to be the best wine. It was a taste that had never been experienced before. Legalism and moral fortitude is no match for the experience of salvation. Along with salvation comes the glory, satisfaction, sufficiency, and lavishness of the grace of God.