On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.”
Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.”
His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars used for the Jewish cleansing ritual, each able to hold about twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter,” and they did. The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.
The headwaiter called the groom and said, “Everyone serves the good wine first. They bring out the second-rate wine only when the guests are drinking freely. You kept the good wine until now.” This was the first miraculous sign that Jesus did in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
After this, Jesus and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there for a few days.
Weddings. I’ve been to a few. Some good ones. Some not so good. But in every one of them, there’s a sense of togetherness. Of the joining of two people, families, histories, into a brand new expression of humanity.
In our story today, a very joyful marriage celebration is going on. But, things turn badly - they ran out of wine at the reception. I find it intriguing that Mary knew they were out of wine. Perhaps she (and Jesus) were family members of the bride or groom. Maybe she was a wedding planner. Whatever the case, she let’s Jesus know.
I love the idea that he makes “new wine” for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the idea of a new humanity being formed because of this wedding. A whole new expression of G_d’s grace was birthed in their midsts and they were celebrating that. The poetic image of “new wine” - some translations say it was “the best wine” - speaks to this new expression. It’s a blessing on something going on behind the scenes. And that leads me to the next reason I like this sign.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, John uses the word “sign” while the other writers use “miracle.” John is telling us that there is something else going on. Something deeper. Something beyond the material manifestation. The “new wine” Jesus displayed points to the new direction history was taking. Through him, creation would now be rescued, no longer held in bonds, but free. The “new wine” is in celebration of the coming freedom. A new expression of humanity would appear and the world would change as dramatically as water changes into wine.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC