Water Transformed into Wine

From the Church of the Holy Rude (Scotland). Stained glass window showing the first miracle at the wedding feast at Canaan; Jesus turned water into wine. Crafted by brothers J and W Keir from Glasgow in 1878.

John 2

The Wedding at Cana

1 The next days there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons.s7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled,8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

New Living Translation

Copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.


We use this story to prove a lot of things.

“Since Jesus did his first public miracle at a wedding, that means weddings are important events and marriage had His divine approval.” (I believe both of those things are true, but NOT because Jesus did a miracle at a wedding.)

“Since Jesus turned water into wine and, in other stories too, Jesus drank wine, he approves of the consumption of alcohol.” (Logic here is a little less twisted than the first point, but still not THE point of the story any more than it’s about giving instructions to servants or hanging out at receptions.)

“Since Jesus didn’t intend to do this miracle until his mother nagged him to do it, this is indication that we can force God’s hand by persistence in asking.” (Again, the logic is a little shaky. Worse than that, there is a whole lot of conjecture and assumption in that thinking.)

I could go on.

Last night as I listened to Jaime (BSF teaching leader) teach on this passage, I asked myself the question that I’m trying to ask more often of Scripture: WHAT IS THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THIS PASSAGE? She was asking it too in her teaching.

I think that Jaime (and the various sources she used in her research/study in preparation to teach) is on to something when she highlights the fact that Jesus had them use the ceremonial pots for this venture — filled with the same old same old water and then TRANSFORMED into vessels with a new purpose containing transformed liquid of a different purpose.  Jesus came to transform the religion of the Jews — a religion that had started out in the right place as a God-relationship but that had eroded over time as humanity added and modified and morphed it into far more and far, far less.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about today. Thinking about Jesus’ first public miracle and asking where He might want to do that again in my living. Where do I have ceremonial pots hanging around filled with impudent water that needs His transformation into something rich and powerful and celebratory, even?!

One thought on “Water Transformed into Wine

  1. joshua h. says:

    excellet description of a fundamental to discovering the meaning intended, rather than interpreting to fit a pre-existing assumption. Good thoughts! May the Holy Spirit draw you into all truth…

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