Water To Wine

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

The gospel of John, as others have described, is like stepping into an art museum. You can pass by the paintings just noticing them and get an idea of what the artist intends to represent, or you can stand in front of the picture and just get lost as you stare deeply at it. The longer you look, the more detail you begin to see, and you begin to see things you did not notice at first.

This, to me, is the gospel of John. We can give it a quick read and get the idea, or we can look deeply at the signs John is sharing with us. By doing so, we begin to see more. We gain a greater understanding of Jesus and His identity as revealed in John. John invites us to slow down a bit and take a good long look at Jesus.


Many people have noticed John's gospel can be divided into several major sections. The first significant section, chapters 1-11, demonstrates Jesus through several miracles (or signs) recorded at significant places. Places such as the wedding at Canna and Jacobs well. Later in this section, John shares signs and teachings of Jesus that take place around several festivals or feasts. This section covers about three years in the life and ministry of Jesus. In the second significant section, chapters 12-20, John slows down and covers the last week of Jesus' ministry leading to His death, resurrection. In the final chapter, Jesus appears to His disciples in Galilee. The first 11 chapters have been outlined as the Book of Signs. The latter half of the gospel as the Book of Glory.


Let's notice the wedding at Canna. Sometimes we come to this sign and get caught up on what type of wine Jesus made or how much alcohol content was actually in the wine Jesus made. When we do so, we are missing the purpose of the sign John is sharing with us. In the sign, there is a problem, a solution, and an outcome. The outcome is the glory of Jesus is revealed, and the disciples believed in Him (ref. Jn. 2:11). So we should see the glory of Jesus in the sign. 


JOHN 2:1-3 (NKJV)

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

They have run out of wine. Today, we may not see the big problem here. However, these types o wedding feasts would be celebratory feasts that would often last up to seven days. Much of the community would have been invited to the banquet. For the host to run out of wine would have been shameful in their culture. Likely there would have been a social stigma attached to the groom that would have made him the talk of the town for years to come.

The "mother of Jesus" recognizes the problem and brings this to Jesus' attention. It's interesting to note, in John's gospel, Marry, Jesus' mother, is never referred to by her name. She appears twice in John's account, here and in (Jn. 19:25) at the foot of the cross. She sees the problem, there is no wine, and she makes Jesus aware of it.


“Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

Reading the word "woman" in the text can seem a bit disrespectful in our culture. However, this was not the case in Jesus' culture. This was a simple, informal address, and we should not read our modern understandings into the text or Jesus' words here.

Jesus says His "hour has not yet come." Jesus is speaking of the cross. John is continually pushing us forward in the narrative to the enthronement of King Jesus and His resurrection. Jesus knows changing the water to wine will set in motion a chain of events, actions, and reactions that will push Him closer to the cross.


The solution, Jesus changes the water to wine.

JOHN 2:6-10 (NKJV)

“Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

In this portrait of Jesus, the wine takes a prominent place. John slows down and spends some time talking about this and giving us a few details.