TURNING WATER INTO WINE

 

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.

 

The Wine Had Run Out

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.”

 

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