Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: At the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, Jesus turned water into wine (John 2: 5). His
mother told the servants, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Did Mary know in advance that
Jesus could or would perform this miracle?
Answer: John 2: 1-11 reads:
1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus
was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when
they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine 4 Jesus saith
unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His
mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were
set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews,
containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with
water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now,
and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast
had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the
servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when
men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until
now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth
his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
That Mary was made aware of the fact that the wine was gone and there was need of more
(v. 3), along with the charge she gave to the servants to do whatever Jesus told them (v. 5),
suggests that she was closely related to either the bride or the groom.
Hospitality was considered a sacred duty in Israel, so running short in this way would have
caused great anguish and embarrassment to the host and to the bride and groom. It would also
have dampened the spirit of the festivities. Mary, although not personally responsible for this
misfortune, apparently felt the need to inform Jesus, who responded, “what does that have to do
with us,” (Greek, “me and you”; John 2: 4, New American Standard Bible).
In his Life of Christ, Dean Farrar suggests that perhaps the unanticipated attendance of the
handful of disciples who came with Jesus were in part responsible for the shortage. Regardless,
it is not surprising that Mary turned to Jesus. As His mother, and obviously informed by His
miraculous birth and of Simeon’s great prophecy regarding His future, she knew that Jesus was
no ordinary man. Watching Him grow and interact with the world around Him, Mary no doubt
knew of His initiative, resourcefulness, problem-solving ability and His readiness to help others.
But did Mary expect that Jesus would in some unique manner solve the immediate crisis,
perhaps by performing a miracle? It seems unlikely. During His thirty years of life He had never
performed one. In fact, according to v. 11, this was His first. Rather, what Mary may have
expected was that Jesus would take charge of the situation, perhaps by directing the household
servants to the marketplace to buy more wine. It is possible that she was as surprised as anyone
when her Son performed this feat, “this beginning of miracles.”