1 Two days later there was a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’s mother was there,
2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
3 When the wine had been given out, Jesus’s mother said to him, “They have no wine left.”
4 “You must not tell me what to do,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 Jesus’s mother then told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 The Jews have rules about ritual washing, and for this purpose six stone water jars were there, each one large enough to hold about a hundred litres.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill these jars with water.” They filled them to the brim,
8 and then he told them, “Now draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the feast.” They took him the water,
9 which now had turned into wine, and he tasted it. He did not know where this wine had come from (but, of course, the servants who had drawn out the water knew); so he called the bridegroom
10 and said to him, “Everyone else serves the best wine first, and after the guests have had plenty to drink, he serves the ordinary wine. But you have kept the best wine until now!”
11 Jesus performed this first miracle in Cana in Galilee; there he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
Other readings: Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
John often tells us about events not related in the other Gospels. The wedding at Cana is one of them. Much of the focus in this passage is on Jesus and his mother Mary. Many details are not included, so as we read the passage the questions start to pop up. How did Jesus come to know the bride and groom? Did Jesus know their families?
Were the bride and groom followers of Jesus? Were all the disciples there? John turns our attention to the wine running out. This would have been a major disgrace for the bride’s family and would have spoilt the bride and groom’s special day.
Only a few short words are exchanged between Jesus and Mary. Have they had conversations like this before about Jesus’s ministry? We are not told.
When Mary speaks about the need for wine, Jesus takes this to mean she is asking him to do something about it. But he is reluctant. Mary doesn’t give up hope. She simply tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. Mary doesn’t ask for a miracle in so many words but perhaps this is what she is hoping for.
Jesus instructs the servants to fill six huge stone jars with water. The servants follow Jesus’s instructions and the water miraculously becomes wine. We are not specifically told whether the wedding guests know about this miracle at the time. But surely the servants would have talked about this amazing event – if not during the wedding itself, then afterwards.
We are, however, told that the disciples did know about it and this miracle caused them to believe in Jesus. John also adds the interesting detail that the wine Jesus produced was no ordinary wine – it was top quality.
Meditate on the symbolism in this miracle – the bride and groom, a wedding celebration, the new wine. How surprised are you that Jesus’s first miracle is turning water into wine? Why do you think Jesus went ahead and performed the miracle? What does this passage reveal about what Mary believed about her son?
Psalm 96 is a wonderful song of praise. Why not join the psalmist and make his words part of your daily prayer this week, “Proclaim every day the good news that he has saved us”?
Allow God to cherish you and lavish the gifts of his Spirit on you. We are part of the Church, which the Bible tells us is the bride of Jesus himself. It is his great pleasure to lavish his love on his bride.
As God’s love flows over you remember God’s desire to have a perfect bride. Don’t lose heart. God can transform his bride as easily and wonderfully as Jesus transformed the wine.
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word. These outlines for the Sunday Gospel readings are published by the Bible Society. Download at Biblesociety.org.uk/lectio. © 2008 United Bible Societies. Bible text Good News Translation, second edition © 1992 American Bible Society, New York