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John 2:1-11, Jesus turns water to wine, the first miracle

Updated on February 13, 2014

John 2 : 1-11

"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." Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tell you." Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water" ; so they filled them to the brim. The 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 wherer it had come from, though the servants who had draw the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 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." This, 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."

For further study

Research Jewish weddings online or at the library


Do you see the three elements of Bible study?

  • What does it say
  • What does it mean
  • What does it mean to me

Once we met Jesus, we knew something special had happened. We weren’t really sure what it was, but it felt like we had met our destiny. It was fun getting to know each other those first few days. The long walk back to Galilee gave us plenty of time to chat. We were all from the Galil area and we knew quite a few people in common. Once we were home, we were invited to attend a wedding with Jesus. During the seven day celebration, we got to meet his family and friends. We got the impression that Mary thought her son was very special. She was a good friend of the family hosting the wedding, and knew that they had run out of wine before the celebration was over. It was a terribly embarrassing situation for the family. To run out of wine at a wedding was a huge social blunder. There would be whispering and gossip about it for a long time. Mary seemed to think that Jesus should do something about it. We had no idea what she wanted, but he knew. “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” he replied, “My time is not yet come.”

Now I know that for a person to call his mother “woman” in your culture can be insulting, or a show of frustration. This was not the case in our time. This was a respectful and affectionate term of address for Jesus. We would hear him use it several other times during his ministry. It really amazed the Samaritan woman we met. I don’t think she was used to getting respect from anyone. (John 4:21) He used it with the Canaanite woman when he healed her daughter after she displayed such great faith. (Matthew 15:21) The most touching moment was with his mother again. At the cross when the end was near, he looked at her and said “Dear woman, here is your son.” This was said to John, and gave his mother the provisions she would need to survive in our culture. (John 19:26)

Mary ignored him and instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus told them. What happened next totally blew our minds. Jesus told the servants to fill the jugs used for the ceremonial foot washing, with water. These were huge twenty to thirty gallon jars. There were six of them sitting nearby and they had been well used throughout the week. The servants did as they were told and my stomach turned at what I heard next. He told them to give it to the master of the banquet to drink! Disgusting! That was foot washing water. I wonder what the servants thought; perhaps they thought it would be a great joke, or maybe they had noticed a difference and were a little afraid of it. I’m not sure they liked the master of the banquet very much because they didn’t tell him where the water came from. I was expecting him to spit it out and start yelling, maybe even turn a shade of green, but none of that happened. To my amazement a look of pure joy came over his face. He called the groom over and told him it was the best wine he ever tasted. He 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.” He was quite impressed. (so were we!)

I think Mary was hoping for a grander display of power from her son. She was so proud of him, and like any good mother, was probably anxious for the world to know how great he was. After all, there were still some whisperings about her “virgin” birth. No one really believed her. This could have been her chance to show them that her son really was different and she wasn’t the hussy everybody thought she was. We could tell Jesus loved his mother. But, as he told her, he wasn’t ready to start his public ministry yet. He did the favor she asked him for, but he did it quietly. Other than the servants, we, the disciples were the only ones to witness this miracle. For a minute he revealed his glory to us, and we put our faith in him.

I learned something about God that day. He loves each and every one of us, and sometimes he will do us a favor just to show us his love. Has that ever happened to you? Can you think of a time when God has done something for you for no other apparent reason than to show you that he loves you? I would love to hear about it!

After the wedding, Jesus attends Passover. For brief history of the Passover, please read my next hub, What is Passover?

I used the Thompson Chain Reference Bible to study Jesus' use of the term "woman" with his mother.

Do you ever feel God's love for you?

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