Meals with Jesus: a Wedding in Cana

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”  “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding 75 – 115 litres. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and 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 10 and 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.”  11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:1-11

Jesus’ first miracle is performed at a meal, and a celebratory one; a wedding. The 3rd day refers to the 3rd day after the sabbath (always the 1st day). The Jews chose the third day for weddings because it was the only day in the 6 days of creation that God saw his work and said it was good ‘twice‘. So it is believed in Jewish tradition that Tuesday, the third day has a special blessing. Even today Jewish weddings often occur on the third day. There is no mention of the ceremony or the bride, she may not even have attended the feast. It is obvious Mary, Jesus’ mum was helping with the catering. Now for wine to run out at a wedding in Jewish culture was not just a minor mishap, it was a major disaster, bringing shame and dishonour to the host family. When they ran out of wine, she also believed Jesus could fix it, how did she know? Perhaps he had topped up the odd jug or meal at home with is miracle of provision. Was she a mum wanting to show off what her son could do? And we see although Jesus protested He still obliged his mum. What is mentioned are the six waterpots and they appear to be an important part of the story.

These cisterns, stone pots, were kept for liturgical cleansing and the 3rd day was usually the day for ‘purification’. BUT Jesus did something different he did not use the water to wash with. It was on purpose. He intentionally changed that water into wine. Here Jesus replaced the water for purification used under the law with wine representing a new covenant. And later he will tell us this wine represents his blood. This first miracle at a meal He lays out what His ministry will do, replace the old rites with the new. Being stone pots, they were a symbol of Christ, (the Rock) and what He did on Calvary. Only Jesus can supply the water that purifies! And he is the ROCK of ages! A motif too of Moses striking the rock and water flowing from it. There is other symbolism here too of Christ sharing the first cup here with His betrothed, the church, and then later He will marry her at the final ceremony and bridal feast and drink the second cup. These 2 cups were taken at Jewish weddings.

The disciples had not yet witnessed any of Jesus’ miracles or mission yet. I wonder what expectations the disciples had? Did they expect to preach or go to Jerusalem for Jesus to be crowned King. Whatever, I am sure they did not think their first mission together would be to go to a wedding. What could they possibly learn from a wedding? But John tells us that through this wedding miracle, Jesus “revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” Perhaps they enjoyed the wine a great deal too? What we do know is it was to be the first of many meals where Jesus would teach them, and us, about His mission, His love and His grace. And  . . . I believe our God loves to celebrate too!!

PRAYER: Ask God to show you how to celebrate with others whilst using it to reveal more of our God and His purposes and please use the following song as part pf your prayer.

SONG: New Wine by Hillsong –