Water Into Wine

Water Into Wine: Many people have heard the story, Jesus was at a wedding in Cana and the hosts ran out of wine. Jesus took six stone jugs and had the servants fill them with water. He then turned the water into wine.

That’s basically what happened. Let’s take a closer look. This was a most remarkable sequence of events for so many reasons and its implications for today are every bit as significant as they were at the time.

Running out of wine was a disaster

First we’ll examine the social implications. Running out of wine would have been a disaster for the host family, for the banquet master and the failure could have resulted in ruin for all involved. To avoid the calamity, they could have watered down the wine or they could have just gone with a much cheaper wine. They could have invited fewer guests, or they could have just chosen grape juice.

Jesus turned water into wine

John tells of this miraculous story:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (John 2:1-11)

Wedding feast is a symbol of our relationship with Jesus

The wedding feast at Cana has meaning well beyond the actual accounts of the day. The church, believers from all ages, are the bride of Christ. It is the ultimate in a tight, infused and eternal relationship that cannot be broken or even tarnished.

Because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross; because of His death and resurrection; people who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, enter into that relationship, perfect and spotless as a virgin on her wedding day.

Christ is the righteousness of a believer. It’s not a marriage in the human sense, because in eternity all that will have passed. It is perfect fellowship. It is the spirit of man meeting the spirit of God.

Jesus will have another banquet

There will be another banquet, but this time it will be for the Lord Jesus and His bride. On His final night, before His arrest and crucifixion:

He passed the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:23)

He added, “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

We will lift our glass in celebration

These passages are a direct reference to the day when all of the saints (believers) past, present and future, will lift their glasses in celebration.

Wine, in Jewish culture, is a symbol of joy and the good life. The wine at the wedding at Cana, was a symbol of what was to come. The wine at the banquet is a symbol of what always will be. We will drink it with Him in His kingdom, as His bride. And it will be the choice wine!

Did Jesus Turn Water Into Wine or Grape Juice?

People love to debate Biblical issues and one of the more popular ones is whether or not Jesus’ miracle in John 2, turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, was creating alcoholic wine, or just grape juice. Like any readings in the Bible, it can be up for interpretation. Let’s take a look at John’s account.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.

Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11)

Highlighted in The Chosen

If you have ever watched Season 1 of “The Chosen” you will remember this sequence of events very well. Not intended to be precisely the way it was, the drama clearly reveals the intent. I particularly love the exchange between Jesus and His mother. His reluctance to perform the task, and for good reason, is quickly turned into acquiescence, because, I think, who can say no to mom? It’s a tender, human moment.

Wine or grape juice?

Now to the point. The word “wine” is the key to understanding what happened. This is not semantics or splitting hairs, it’s really quite plain. When the wine is presented, His disciples were amazed.

Verse 11 says “and his disciples believed in him.” There are many signs and wonders that will follow, but sadly the point of this miracle is lost in a battle of words. The Greek word used is “oinos,” a common word for ordinary wine, that is, fermented, alcoholic wine. The same word is used by the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:18, warning people not to get drunk on wine.

Semantics aside, there is no historical or cultural proof that the wine wasn’t the “good stuff.” Jesus created a normal, ordinary wine. Remember this was a wedding and clearly when the wine is described by the master of the banquet as being “choice,” the point is made. Seriously, would he have made a fuss for grape juice?

It was wine

Of course there are folks who really do not approve of the consumption of alcohol. They would suggest that by turning water into fermented wine, Jesus would have been promoting sin. They will hold that alcohol is inherently sinful and therefore Jesus could not have done this. But the argument is not Biblical. There are even positive references to consuming alcohol.

Ecclesiastes 9:7 instructs, “Drink your wine with a merry heart.”

Psalm 104:14-15 states that God gives wine “that makes glad the heart of men.”

Amos 9:14 discusses drinking wine from your own vineyard as a sign of God’s blessing.

Isaiah 55:1 encourages, “Yes, come buy wine and milk…”

From these and other Scriptures, it is clear that alcohol itself is not inherently sinful. Rather, it is the abuse of alcohol, drunkenness and/or addiction, that is sinful (Ephesians 5:18; Proverbs 23:29-35; 1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19).

Jesus was not promoting drunkenness

Jesus was well within Godly limits. He was not promoting drunkenness, just as He did not promote gluttony when he performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Certainly wine can be abused

By turning water into wine, Jesus was not promoting drunkenness and He would not have been responsible for people making bad choices. The truth of John 2 is the fact that water was turned into the best wine and the wedding went on.

Drunkenness is sinful. Addiction is sinful. God’s standard is moderation and self control. Personal responsibility is important. God’s standards were in no way violated. He was glorified.