Water Into Wine

by Susan Klein on May 11, 2022

Ever wonder why Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding feast? Only ten short verses in the Book of John tell the story, yet they reveal so much about our Lord and Savior.

In chapter two we read that Jesus and His disciples were invited to this particular wedding, implying that Jesus knew the bride and or groom personally. His mother was also present so they were likely friends of the family.

At one point in the festivities, Mary informs Jesus, “There is no more wine.” The host had run out. She did not ask Jesus to do anything miraculous; she was just imploring Him to help save their friends from major social disgrace for not being able to provide for the guests. Had her husband Joseph been present, Mary may have turned to him for help. Instead, she turned to her eldest son.

Jesus replies to her request with a question. “Woman,” He calls her, which is a perfectly respectful address (like ma’am), but one that conveys a slight familial distancing from His mother. He is now operating as the Son of God.

“Why do you involve Me? My hour has not yet come.” He knew the only way to remedy the situation was to perform His first miracle. Realizing that once He started performing miracles, He would be on the path toward revealing His true identity, and toward the beginning of His end on earth.

Mary, knowing Jesus’ obedience as a son, and compassion as a human being, has full confidence He will come up with a solution and she informs the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Placing the needs of the family above religious tradition, Jesus instructs the servants to fill the sacred jugs (that were consecrated for purification purposes) with water, then remove some of it and take it to the master of the banquet. This action alone would have been strictly prohibited by the religious leaders of the day.

Though typically diluted with water for drinking purposes, the master immediately recognized this wine as being far superior to the wine previously served, and congratulated the groom. Not only had Jesus saved this family from disgrace, He placed them in higher standing among their guests by bringing out the better wine last.

As far as we know, only the servants knew or saw what He actually did. This miracle was as much for those few individuals as it was for the host, showing how much He cares for even “the least of these.”

John uses the word “sign” instead of miracle to describe Jesus’ action. A sign doesn’t stress the importance of the action, rather, it points people toward something. This sign from Jesus pointed people toward God’s provision for their need through the working of His Son.

Turning water into wine as His first sign? I believe it was a clear testimony to His selflessness and compassion toward all people.

How have you seen God’s compassion extended in your life?

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