The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
Water into Wine
John ii: 1, to
days after Jesus met his first followers or
disciples at the river Jordan, he came with these
men to a town in Galilee called Cana, to be present
at a wedding. In those lands a feast was always held
at a wedding and often the friends of those who were
married stayed several days, eating and drinking
The mother of Jesus was at this wedding as a friend
of the family, for Nazareth, where she lived, was
quite near to Cana. Before the wedding feast was
over all the wine had been used, and there was no
more for the guests to drink. The mother of Jesus
knew that her son had power to do whatever he chose,
and she said to him, "They have no wine."
Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have I to do with
thee? My hour is not yet come."
But his mother knew that Jesus would in some way
help the people in their need; and she said to the
servants who were waiting at the table, "Whatever he
tells you to do, be sure to do it."
In the dining hall were standing six large stone
jars, each about as large as a barrel, holding
twenty-five gallons. These jars held water for
washing, as the Jews washed their hands before every
meal, and washed their feet as often as they came
from walking in the street, since they wore no
shoes, but only sandals. Jesus said to the servants,
"Fill the water-jars with water."
The servants obeyed Jesus and filled the jars up to
the brim. Then Jesus spoke to them again, and said,
"Now draw out some of the water and take it to the
ruler of the feast."
They drew out water from the jars, and saw that it
had been turned into wine. The ruler did not know
from what place the wine had come, but he said to
the young man who had just been married,  the
bridegroom, "At a feast everybody gives his best
wine at the beginning, and afterward, when his
guests have drunk freely, he brings on wine that is
not so good; but you have kept the good wine until
This was the first time that Jesus used the power
that God had given him, to do what no other man
could do. Such works as these were called "miracles"
and Jesus did them as signs of his power as the Son
of God. When the disciples saw this miracle they
believed in Jesus more fully than before. After this
Jesus went with his mother and his younger brothers
to a place called Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea
of Galilee. But they stayed there only a few days,
for the feast of the Passover was near, and Jesus
went up to Jerusalem to attend it. You remember that
the feast of the Passover was held every year to
keep in mind how God had led the people of Israel
out of Egypt long before.
When Jesus came to Jerusalem he found in the courts
of the Temple men who were selling oxen and sheep
and doves for the sacrifices, and other men sitting
at tables changing the money of Jews who came from
other lands into the money of Judea. All this made
the courts around the Temple seem like a market, and
not a place for the worship of God.
Jesus picked up some cord, and made from it a little
whip. With it he began to drive out of the Temple
all the buyers and sellers. He was but one, and they
were many; but such power was in his look that they
ran before him. He drove the men, and the sheep and
the oxen; he overturned the tables, and threw on the
floor the money; and to those who were selling the
doves he said, "Take these things away; make not my
Father's house a house for selling and buying!"
These acts of Jesus were not pleasing to the rulers
of the Jews, for many of them were getting rich by
this selling of sacrifices and changing of money.
Some of the rulers came to Jesus, and said to him,
"What right have you to come here and do such things
as these? What sign can you show that God has given
to you power to rule in this place?"
Jesus said to them, "I will give you a sign. Destroy
this house of God, and in three days I will raise it
Then said the Jews, "It has taken forty-six years to
build this Temple, and it is not finished yet. Will
you raise it up in three days?"
But Jesus did not mean the Temple on Mount Moriah.
He was speaking of himself; for in him God was
dwelling as in a temple, and he meant that when they
should put him to death, he would rise again in
three days. Afterward, when Jesus had died and risen
again, his followers, the disciples, thought of what
he had said, and understood these words.
While Jesus was in Jerusalem one of the rulers of
the Jews, a man named Nicodemus, came to see him. He
came in the night, perhaps because he was afraid to
be seen coming in the daytime. He said to Jesus,
"Master, we know that you are a teacher come from
God, for no man can do these wonderful things that
you do unless God is with him."
Jesus said to Nicodemus, "I say to you in truth,
that unless a man is born anew he cannot see the
kingdom of God."
Nicodemus did not know that this meant that to be
saved we must have new hearts given to us by the
Lord. He said, "Why, how can a man be born twice?
How can one be born again after he has grown up?"
Jesus said to him, "I tell you of a truth, that
unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
By this he meant that we must be baptized, and that
God must put his Spirit in us, if we are to become
God's children. Jesus said also, "As Moses lifted up
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son
of Man be lifted up, that every one who believes in
him may have everlasting life. For God so loved the
world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever
believes in him may not perish, but may have
everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the
world to condemn (that is to judge) the world; but
that the world through him might be saved."
Water into Wine