The Wedding in Cana
1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:1-11
Jesus’ mom was at a wedding. Jesus and his disciples were there, too. They ran out of wine, which would likely bring the days-long celebration to a disappointing end. When Jesus’ mom raises the issue with him, he seems to dismiss her prodding to get involved, yet he instructs the servants to fill six large stone jars with water (20-30 gallons each). When the chief steward tasted it (he had no idea where this wine had come from), he was amazed, saying; “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus had transformed water into wine. Extraordinary wine. The best that had been served at the party.
Notice, hardly anyone knew about this amazing event, this “sign” as the gospel writer calls it. It is the first remarkable thing Jesus does in John’s gospel. Healings and other signs will follow, but this is the first. And only Jesus and his mother, plus the servants who helped know what has happened. Not even the steward, and certainly not the guests. The first sign Jesus does that indicates he has come from God to change the world happens quietly in the midst of a family and community gathering. Jesus repurposed the water jars for ritual washing into a huge amount of wine for the celebration. Excellent wine in massive quantities. (I did the math – 6 jars x 25 gallons each = 150 gallons. There are 128 ounces in each gallon, so that’s 19,200 ounces which is the equivalent of 3,200 glasses of wine!)
Quiet abundance. That’s what catches my attention in this story. Without fanfare or even, it seems, any realization from those celebrating at the wedding, Jesus creates an absurd abundance of wonderful wine. The party can continue. This sign tells us that God is here, doing amazing, frivolous, and unreasonably generous things.
Where do you notice quiet abundance in your life? How does God’s lavish generosity appear for you? Like the guests at that wedding, we may notice some amazing things when we simply look.
Deacon Alicia Anderson, Campus Minister with Lutheran Campus Ministry
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.