Water into Wine

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : John 2:1-11

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. (v. 11)

There was a wedding and Jesus and his disciples were invited. Can you see it? Bride and groom decked out in their best attire. Proud families happy for this long-expected day. Everyone hoping all will go well. But to the embarrassment of the bridegroom’s family, they run out of wine. In order to prevent disgrace, Jesus’ mother intervenes by asking Jesus to do something. Jesus tells the servants to fill stone jars used for Jewish purification rites with water and take them to the headwaiter. When the headwaiter tastes the contents, he is astonished to find the best wine.

In his Gospel John prominently features seven “signs” done by Jesus. Seven—the biblical number of perfection. This text recounts the first of these signs—pointers to who Jesus really is, events that, as verse 11 says, reveal Jesus’ glory. Prefiguring the future, Jesus did something new by using elements of the old Jewish purification system, ultimately bringing purification to the whole world. He turned water into wine so this wedding feast could continue, foreshadowing the grand banquet feast of reconciliation. Jesus’ glory was here disclosed, but it will be fully revealed via cross and empty tomb.


Lord, help us to understand the signs you show us, that we may see your glory and follow you.