Jesus: The Miracle at Cana
Changing Water into Wine

At Bible Basics… a closer look we take a closer look at the Gospel of John 2:1-11 where Jesus turns water into “New Wine” at the wedding feast celebration in Cana, Jesus’ first recorded miracle which marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

Bible Basics also takes a a closer look at the significance and meanings of this miraculous “Sign” recorded by the Apostle John, the 4th Gospel’s writer.

All True Miracles Always Point Their Way to God!




Bible Basics Custom Google Site Search!

Marriage at Cana
Carl Bloch, Copenhagen 1834 - 1890

Here indeed is the one
they have been waiting for.
He himself is the good wine
that has been kept back until now.

IVP New Testament Commentaries



Jesus Changes Water to Wine
John 2:1-11

1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." 4"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

8Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, 9and 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 10and 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."

11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.





The Way of the World

Jesus Changes Water to Wine
John 2:1-11

1On the third day
A reflection of what was to come; The Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Third Day – Easter Sunday.

a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.
· A wedding was an important event and the celebration could last for a week.

· Some people believe that if a Christian is having fun – they must be sinning. On the contrary: Jesus was at the wedding feast celebration to join in the festivities! God wants to enter in and be included and to be a part of the celebration.
God is with us in our “Best” of Times… And
God is with us in our “Worst” of Times!

Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
Why was Mary aware that there was “no more wine”? Mary was an invited guest who probably had close ties to the bride and/or groom. Mary most likely was involved in the preparations for the wedding much like bride's maids and friends are involved in their friend’s weddings today. There is some speculation that the reason the wedding feast ran out of wine is because of Jesus and his disciples may have been unexpected guest. Another possibility is “poverty.” These were common peasants. Possibly they were limited on how much wine they could purchase. Mary could have taken a look at the numbers of wedding guest and simply surmised that there wasn’t enough wine to last for days. If you were having a dinner party for 8 and you have already made all of the preparations and have cooked the meal and 12 or more guest arrive – you do not have to take an inventory in the kitchen to realize that you do not have enough food!

4"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

Woman, why do you involve me?" is not a disrespectful or derogatory term used by Jesus. Later when Jesus is crucified on the cross, Jesus says to his mother and to the disciple (John) that Jesus loved,
25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27

“My time has not yet come.” Would have been a cryptic statement from Jesus that she probably would not have understood its’ coming future implications and meanings.

5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Joseph is not mentioned at being at the wedding probably because he had already died. This being the case Mary would have been used to bringing her problems, her concerns to Jesus. “They have no more wine.” This statement is simply another problem and concern that Mary took to her Son, Jesus. Jesus is the One we should always first bring our troubles, problems, and concerns too.

Turn all your troubles over to him,
because he cares for you and is watching over you.

1 Peter 5:7 Worldwide English


"Do whatever he tells you."
Mary did NOT tell Jesus what to do! Mary put her Faith and her Trust in Jesus that Jesus would answer her concern (prayer). When we pray to God, we should NOT be dictating to God what we want God to do for us! Like Mary we should petition the Lord with prayer, to Trust that we are safely in God’s Hands, and have Patience, Faith, and Trust in God to answer our prayers.

Let the morning bring me word of your everlasting love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8


6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
6 jars holding 20 – 30 gallons each 120 – 180 total.
See: *John Barclay Gospel of John Commentary below on this page.

7Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
They filled them to the very brim. Filled to the brim; no possibility of a hoax.

The servants (the servants of Jesus) obediently followed the instructions of Jesus. We too need to listen and to follow the instructions of Jesus; The Word of God.

When we the servants of the Lord, follow His instructions and His Word, we too are privileged to see the miracles of God working in our everyday lives. Yes, God loves you, and His Holy Spirit surrounds you at all times, and Yes, God IS working in your life!

8Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, 9and 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 10and 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."
The bride and the groom and all of the wedding guest were oblivious to the Miracle of changing water into wine. Only the servants of Jesus, only the followers of Jesus who follow His instructions were aware of Jesus’ miraculous sign of changing water into wine.

11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
John the Gospel writer always refers to Jesus’ miracles as “Signs.” John wants us not to focus on the miracle but on the significance and meanings rather than the marvel of the event. This is the beginning of Jesus’ Ministry.



For me when I first came to read this Scriptures, the miracle of changing water into wine, (to me) – this was an unspectacular miracle. I guess I expected something bigger, something more spectacular. I was mistakenly looking at the miracle and not looking for the meanings! I failed to recognize and understand the much more significant meanings of the miracle. But later when I finally started to realize the important meanings of this Scripture I was flabbergasted! John 2:1-11 is spectacular; NOT because of the miracle, but because of the “Sign” the greater meanings and significance of the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine.

If we look at this miracle of changing water into wine as just a magic trick performed by Jesus; this miracle is meaningless. All True Miracles Always Point to God! But when we see the meanings of this “Sign” we are filled with a wealth of Understanding God, the Nature of God, The Love, Forgiveness, and Grace of God.
- eoa



One Layer of Understanding of John 2:1-11 is of God’s overflowing abundant love – (6 jars holding 20 – 30 gallons each 120 – 180 gallons of new wine.) and that this Gift of God’s Grace, the “New Wine” is shared with the servants (the servants/followers of Christ) and the same overflowing abundant love (new wine) is given to those who are oblivious to God’s miracles (Jesus turning water into wine.) The new wine is shared with ALL – God’s Love is Unconditional for ALL people!

Grace is everything for nothing
to those who don’t deserve anything.

Given to me by John West.




The Way of the World

But John 2:1-11 also gives us a picture of reality of the world. Two different views: How the world sees things? And How God sees things?

What God values and what is dear to the Heart of God, often is NOT what the world values and seeks. There is God’s Restorative Justice and the world’s punitive justice.

“You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Matthew 6:24


The World

In the Jesus turns water into wine Bible story, the bride and the groom are the “stars” of the show! The bride and groom are the “celebrities.” The bride and groom are treated as royalty as King and Queen. The bride and the groom are the most important and prominent people at the wedding feast – But they are oblivious to Jesus’ sign, the miracle of turning water into wine.

The “master of the banquet” is the banquet manager, he is the person in charge. He is the one with power, authority, and responsibility over the banquet. He has prestige of his position and status. The master of the banquet is responsible for the banquets wine, Yet he is oblivious to the fact that the wine has run out and he is oblivious to where the “new wine” has come from! He too is oblivious….
It is curious that Mary, a woman of no power, position, or authority is the one to recognize that the wine has run out!

There are also important guest at the banquet: the parents of the bride and groom, relatives; the family closest to the bride and groom. There are also many friends at this feast and indeed most of the entire village is at this feast celebration. And this feast celebration (and the wine) lasted for days. And yet none of the guest at the wedding were aware of the miracle that Jesus had performed. The guest were oblivious to the miracle of Jesus.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
John 1:10-13

The only people who were witnesses to Jesus’ miracle were Mary and the servants. Only the Servants of God who followed the instructions of Jesus were privileged to witness Jesus’ miracle of changing water into wine. The least of these saw the miracles of Jesus.

This is similar to Shepherds and the Angels in Luke 2:8-11 where the Birth of Jesus Christ is announced to the lowly shepherds in the fields.

What is this saying to us about the world?

It is telling us that in the world, the people with power and authority… do NOT know what is going on behind the scenes. The people in charge are oblivious to the real power and authority in the world – GOD!

They have eyes to see;
yet they do not see.
They have ears to hear,
yet they do not hear.


Only the Servants of God, the Servants of Jesus Christ see clearly, know what is going on, know the truth, and have true wisdom. The Servants of God get their authority, power, and strength from God! They pursue the things, which are important to God; close to God’s heart: Love One Another.

“Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21


The world has eyes to see;
But fail to see.
The world has ears to hear;
But fails to hear.


The World
The world seeks power and wealth.
The servants of God seek the Kingdom of God.

The world is self-centered and selfish.
The servants of God serve others and are servants to all.

"If anyone wants to be first,
he must be the very last,
and the servant of all."

Mark 9:35

Mark 9:33-37





The world seeks the favor of man.
The servants of God seek the favor of God through their words and deeds.

The world seeks the plans of man.
The servants of God seek the good plans of God;
To serve God joyfully and obediently.

The world seeks to be served.
The servants of God seek to serve others.

44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Mark 10:44-45
Matthew 20:27-29


Being a servant of God is NOT thinking less of yourself.
Christians are NOT a doormat for others to walk on!
Being a servant of God is thinking about yourself – Less!
And thinking of others and their needs!


The world seeks conspicuous opulent wealth and prestige.
The servants of God humbly give from their hearts.
The servants of God humbly give their best
Of their time, talents, and treasure
without a thought of seeking payment or reward.

The world seeks to be on top;
To be the greatest,
And to grab the prize.
The servants of God want to share the Gift to ALL;
To share the Gift of Jesus Christ to the world.

The world covets what is temporary.
The servants of God seek that which is Eternal.
We are “aliens” in this world.
Our citizenship is in Heaven.

19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:19-20





The astute differences between the way of the world
and the Way of God are as startlingly different as
Day and Night
Darkness and Light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."

John 8:12


For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.

Ephesians 5:8




CHABAD.ORG LIFECYCLES:

On their wedding day, as well as during the entire following week of Sheva Brachot, the bride and groom are treated like a royal couple. They are wined and dined, and their every wish is catered to. It is considered a privilege to serve them! According to the Zohar, it is proper to invite poor people to the wedding feast. No joyous occasion is complete unless it is shared with those who are less fortunate. It is also of great importance that the establishment of a Jewish home be based on kindness and compassion. Following this reasoning, the Rebbe encouraged the placing of a charity box on the head-table(s) of the wedding.

Wine
The focus now shifts to the next and final stage of the marriage ceremony, the nisu'in, which is effected by the chupah and the recitation of Seven Benedictions (Sheva Brachot) in honor of the bride and groom.1 These blessings, too, are recited over a cup of wine.2 The first blessing is the blessing on wine, and the remaining six are marriage-themed blessings, which include special blessings for the newlywed couple.

CHABAD.ORG LIFECYCLES: For a comprehensive in-depth look at Jewish wedding traditions, customs, Holy Days, and other Jewish traditions:

www.chabad.org





1-4(On the third day) Two days after this there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee; and Jesus’ mother was there. And Jesus was invited to the wedding and so were his disciples. When the wine had run short, Jesus’ mother said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Lady, let me handle this in my own way. (“What have I to do with thee?”) My hour has not yet come.”
John 2:1-11 William Barclay Translation

4Jesus said to her, [Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? [What do we have in common? Leave it to Me.] My time (hour to act) has not yet come.
Amplified Bible.

Ambiguous? How does God answer prayer?

5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Hope, Faith, and Trust
No wine – great humiliation! For a Jewish feast wine was essential. “Without wine,” said the Rabbis, “there is no joy.” It was not that people were drunken, but in the East wine was an essential. Drunkeness was in fact a great disgrace, and they actually drank their wine in a mixture composed of 2 parts of wine to 3 parts of water. At any time the failure of provisions would have been a problem, for hospitality in the East is a sacred duty; but for the provisions to fail at a wedding would be a terrible humiliation for the bride and bridegroom. --
*John Barclay Gospel of John

6Nearby, There where were six stone waterpots sanding there -– they were needed for the Jewish purifying customs—and each of them held about twenty or thirty gallons.
*“No wedding party on earth could drink 180 gallons of wine. No need on earth can exhaust the grace of Christ; there is a glorious superabundance in it.”
*John Barclay Gospel of John

Seven is complete & perfect. Six is imperfect & UNFINISHED! The six waterpots represent the imperfections, inadequacies, the insufficiencies which where in the Jewish Law. -- *“Jesus turned the imperfection of the law into the perfection of grace.”
*John Barclay Gospel of John

7Jesus said to the servants: Fill the waterpots with water.”
They filled them to the very brim. Filled to the brim; no possibility of a hoax.

8He said to them,: “Draw from them now, and take what you draw to the steward in charge.” They did so.

9When the steward had tasted the water which had become wine—he did not know where it came from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew—the steward called the bridegroom and said to him: “Everyone first sets before the guest the good wine, and then, when they have drunk their fill, he sets before them the inferior wine. You have kept the good wine until now.”

11Jesus did the first of his signs in Cana of Galilee, and displayed his glory; and his disciples believed on him.



Miracle at Cana, Gospel of John Daily Bible Series
by William Barclay

To read the story in this way suggests a number of thoughts. An observer at the feast would have seen only what the chief steward saw, and would have also have praised the bridegroom. This prompts us to ask whether we really know what is going on when we look at it, and interpret, the world around us. Are the people who are supposed to be in control daily affairs, and who think they are in control, really in control? In the story, Jesus works in secret and only the servants and the disciples know what is really happening. This “hiddenness” in relation to the ways of God in human affairs prompts us to try to see events in the light of God’s purposes, and not in terms of the human control of events.

One of the most important things about the “world” of the biblical text, when we enter it in the way described above, is that it contradicts and challenges our own world.

Had we been at the feast, we would have regarded the bridegroom and the bride as the happiest people present, and the steward as the most important person present. The story as I have read it sees things quite differently. It is the servants who are the most fortunate, because they get to see the glory of Jesus, and know where the wine has come from. The most important person at the feast is Jesus for whose work another, the bridegroom gets all the credit....

...The Bible challenges our own world, something that should not really surprise us when we remember that the Bible is addressed to a human race that believes (wrongly) that it can run the world without God and without his laws.



17 You may say to yourself,
"My power and the strength of my hands
have produced this wealth for me."
18 But remember the LORD your God,
for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth,
and so confirms his covenant,
which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18


Everything I have achieved;
God has given me.

Isaiah 26:12


Apart from God I can do nothing.
John 15:5




*Now we can see what John is teaching us. Every story tells us not of something Jesus did once and never again, but of something which he is forever doing. John tells us not of things that Jesus once did in Palestine, but of things that he still does today. And what John wants us to see here is not that Jesus once on a day turned some waterpots of water into wine; he wants us to see that whenever Jesus comes into a man’s life, there comes a new quality which is like turning water into wine.

Without Jesus, life is dull and stale and flat; when Jesus comes into it, life becomes vivid and sparkling and exciting. Without Jesus, life is drab and uninteresting; with him it is thrilling and exhilarating....

Whenever Jesus went and whenever he came into life it was like water turning into wine.”

This story is John saying to us: “If you want the new exhilaration, become a follower of Jesus Christ, and there will come a change in your life which will be like water turning into wine.”
- *John Barclay Gospel of John



When the Wine Runs Out

Often we will not call to God, Pray to God, or Run to God until all of our resources are totally exhausted. Often we turn to God only when we have no other options or choices. Often we only Run to God when we are at the “end of our rope,” when we are filled with doubts and fears, when “the wine runs out!”

Where should we turn when the “the wine runs out!”? Like Mary we should turn all of our problems and worries to Jesus, and like the servants, “do whatever he tells you,” follow Jesus’ word joyfully and obediently.

When we are at “the end of our rope,” when “the wine runs out,”; Jesus is the “New Wine” – for Jesus provides abundantly – Jesus IS Mighty to Save and Strong to Provide!

Call on Jesus before all of your wine runs out!



Moses turned water into Blood. Jesus turns water into wine; and later Jesus would turn wine into His blood of Salvation:

22While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

23Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
Mark 14:22-23
Matthew 26:26-27



The Miracle at Cana:
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

It is very desirable when there is a marriage, to have Christ own and bless it. Those that would have Christ with them at their marriage, must invite him by prayer, and he will come. While in this world we sometimes find ourselves in straits, even when we think ourselves in fulness. There was want at a marriage feast. Those who are come to care for the things of the world, must look for trouble, and count upon disappointment. In our addresses to Christ, we must humbly spread our case before him, and then refer ourselves to him to do as he pleases.

In Christ's reply to his mother there was no disrespect. He used the same word when speaking to her with affection from the cross; yet it is a standing testimony against the idolatry of after-ages, in giving undue honours to his mother. His hour is come when we know not what to do. Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ's favours, must observe his orders with ready obedience. The way of duty is the way to mercy; and Christ's methods must not be objected against.

The beginning of Moses' miracles was turning water into blood, Ex 7:20; the beginning of Christ's miracles was turning water into wine; which may remind us of the difference between the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. He showed that he improves creature-comforts to all true believers, and make them comforts indeed. And Christ's works are all for use. Has he turned thy water into wine, given thee knowledge and grace? it is to profit withal; therefore draw out now, and use it. It was the best wine. Christ's works commend themselves even to those who know not their Author. What was produced by miracles, always was the best in its kind. Though Christ hereby allows a right use of wine, he does not in the least do away his own caution, which is, that our hearts be not at any time overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, Lu 21:34. Though we need not scruple to feast with our friends on proper occasions, yet every social interview should be so conducted, that we might invite the Redeemer to join with us, if he were now on earth; and all levity, luxury, and excess offend him. (Jn 2:12-22)

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible is available in the Public domain.



Comment