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 from twenty to thirty gallons.
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 realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn 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.”
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.
I realise there are many layers in this story, there are many nuanced potential meanings and things we can learn. I just want to focus on two elements of the story and their possible interpretations.
Firstly a look at the verse that contains the following:
“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.”
Jesus uses the contents of something that was used for ceremonial cleansing to produce wine. An unusual approach, a possible paradox.
Water from these jars was used to clean people – symbolically, if not actually, to take away the grime and uncleanliness of our humanity.
Jesus therefore takes this thing linked to uncleanness and uses it to provide something fit to drink. Something clean, something pure.
Symbolically, I feel like this is akin to his transformation of us from sinful to forgiven, from unclean to washed clean.
Secondly the master of the banquet, later on says:
“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.”
While I was listening to the audio bible of that passage the following struck me.
I think, amongst other things, this is Jesus reminding us that whatever good things we have tasted or experienced in this life should be celebrated, it is good to experience good things but these are just the appetiser, there is something even better to come.
Jesus proclaims in this miracle, this ‘sign’, that God is saving the very best until last: His Kingdom.
The experience of the fullness of the Kingdom of God will be will be the best, it will be better than anything anyone has ever tasted or experienced.
Linking these two ideas, in my mind, creates a powerful couplet – we – the most wretched and unclean beings are cleansed, made fit for purpose, made fit for a purpose; not just for the sake of being cleaned. We are being cleansed to bring forward flavours, colours, visions, tasters of the best of what God has in store for the world until it eventually fills the whole earth with God’s goodness again.
With that in mind, our job in the world is to ask “how can we help to make things better? How can we give God more glory?”
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.