The account of Jesus turning water into wine is familiar to many, many people. Those who are more familiar with their bibles will say “Ah yes, John’s gospel; Chapter 2, verses 1 through 11.
I have also encountered lots of folks, with little to no affiliation with church or anything spiritual, who also know of this event. I find in my conversations with the unchurched that they have also heard of this Jesus having fed thousands and calming a stormy sea as well as raising His friend Lazarus from the dead.
Pondering this, Dear Faithful and Deeply Appreciated Reader (with a special shout-out to my Saturday morning friends who encourage me so much), I thought I would spend some time over my next blogs considering the miracles of Jesus as recorded by an eye witness to them, John. This same John wrote five books found in the new Testament: the Gospel of John, three letters (John 1, 2 and 3) as well as the Book of Revelation.
It is my hope that together, we can come to a deeper understanding of the wonders Jesus performed during His physical ministry and ultimately that we bring honor to the Lord because of it. I pray that these times together will strengthen the faith of those who already claim Jesus as Savior while at the same time encouraging us to share what we know of these miracles with others that they too might know Him more deeply.
As I said, the miracle of Jesus changing water into wine can be found in John 2:1-11. Reading it for yourselves is always the best way to go, but in case you are pressed for time right now, here’s my version of events.
Context: Jesus has just recently been baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, thus the Lord’s earthly ministry was in its beginning stages. He and His six disciples (the other six would come a little later) are attending a wedding in the village of Cana. Weddings were hugely important social affairs back then and it would not be uncommon for everyone from the village to be invited as well as folks from nearby places. Also, these weren’t just 4-hour gatherings after vows were exchanged. These celebrations usually went on for several days.
I mention this as background to help you see what a social gaff it would be to run out of refreshments before the party ended. And in this case, that was about to happen.
Jesus’ mother somehow finds out the wine is gone and tells Him of the problem. After an interesting exchange with His mother, Jesus instructs some of the servants at the gathering to go fill six stone water jars, each with a capacity of about 20 gallons.
They fill them as instructed and then Jesus tells them to take some of the water/wine to the event organizer. When this man samples the wine, he is amazed at its quality. It was far superior to what had been served and this fellow goes so far as to call out the host for serving this top shelf wine later in the event as people have already dulled their taste buds a little bit with an inferior drink.
The writer John concludes his coverage of the event this way:
This, the first of the miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him (John 2:11 NIV).
As John wrote, this miracle showed Jesus to be not just another prophet or teacher, but in fact He had the power to create something from something else. No doubt this was a great way to start His earthly ministry, as evidenced by those first disciples who were awed by what they had seen.
We could leave it there, but those of you who have followed me for any time know that’s not going to happen! This miracle was performed in such a way that only a few knew it had happened at all. I conclude that it is included in the Holy Scriptures therefore for all subsequent readers, including you and me! ‘Seeing’ this miracle in this light, I can understand why the Holy Spirit inspired John to put this in his account of the life of Jesus.
Here are three things I glean from this miracle and invite you to consider as well:
Jesus showed his true humility. He didn’t make a big show out of this, as only the servants and His disciples were privy to what happened. I see this as a great lesson/reminder for when God chooses to do something special through us. That action, whatever it may be, is for the glory of God. It is not to have a spotlight shone on us.
Secondly, the jars involved were used for ceremonial cleaning. Don’t overlook this: they were empty as these event unfolded! I believe this reveals that our attempts at purification are useless in and of themselves. Jesus miraculously changes the water that was added into wine. Jump ahead with me to the Last Supper. Jesus offers the ceremonial wine to His disciples as a symbol of His blood; the very blood that would be shed for the forgiveness of sins that leads to salvation.
And lastly (for now anyway), consider the quality of the wine produced by Jesus. The master of the wedding ceremony claims that this wine was far superior to what had been previously served. My conclusion: Anything and everything the Lord creates/lays His hands to or leads us toward is also going to be infinitely superior to anything we have known. When Jesus makes the change, you can be assured it will be for the best!
I hope this encourages you as much as it has me. I would cherish hearing from you on this topic. Questions are always welcome as are other insights into this miracle that God reveals to you.
Blessings and thanks for reading,