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John 2:1-11 - Turning purification water into living waters

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

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On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. When 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 and 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." Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


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This is the Gospel reading to be read aloud by a priest on the second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow an Old Testament reading from Isaiah, where the prophet wrote: “but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for Yahweh delights in you, and your land shall be married.” That will precede a singing from Psalm 36, where David wrote: “Your love, Yahweh, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.” Those will be followed by the Epistle reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, where the Saint wrote: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”


In 2016, I wrote a sermon entitled “The Miracle of New Wine in Cana.” It was less specific that an in-depth commentary of mine; but it was derived from having ‘done my homework.’ The homework I did (I found out) was never published on my website. For that reason, I am now posting this that was written in late January 2016. I saved the file as “Turning water into wine.” Enjoy!


Regardless what you think you know about this miracle of “Jesus changing water into wine,” look at it with a fresh set of eyes. See what is really written once you slow down and realize that reading Scripture is not a speed-reading contest.


1. On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,


“Kai te hemera te trite gamos egeneto en Kana tes Galilaias kai en he meter tou Iesou ekei .”


And on the day third a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there.


The third day of the week is our Tuesday. Interestingly, the website “Interfaith Family,” under an article posted: “Timing and Location of a Jewish Wedding” says, “In traditional Jewish communities, Tuesday is considered an auspicious day to hold a wedding because it is a day that a portion of the Torah is not chanted in the synagogue.”[1] An article posted on the website “My Jewish Learning” adds to this thought the explanation, saying, “This was so because, concerning the account of the third day of creation, the phrase “… and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10,12) appears twice. Therefore, Tuesday is a doubly good day for a wedding.”[2]


The day that is third could be the third day of a month. Because this wedding is followed by verse 12 stating, “After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days,” with verse 13 telling of Jesus overturning the vendor tables at the Temple, during the Passover week, one could assume the third day was 3 Nissan or 10 Nissan, since the Passover begins on 15 Nissan. According to the website “Chabad.org,” the second best time to schedule a wedding is in the first 15 days of a month, due to Jewish months being based on the moon’s phases. The article, “Approved Dates for a Wedding,” states that Rosh Chodesh is a good choice. They state, “First fifteen days of the Jewish (lunar) month: The moon is a metaphor for the Jewish nation, and the days of the month when the moon is waxing are auspicious days for a Jewish couple to be married.”


Because I have calculated Jesus was born in the Hebrew year 3652, with him beginning his ministry when he was 33, about to turn 34, so that would make the year 3686 important. The Hebrew year 3686 has 3 Nissan occur on a Tuesday (the third day of the week). Jewish tradition forbids any weddings during the week of Passover (8 days), the Counting of the Omer (49 days) and Shavuot (2 days) … as well as during the feast days of Sukkot (2 days), any Shabbat, and other days considered holy.


You should note that verse one tells that the mother of Jesus was in Cana of Galilee, set aside from the next verse that tells about Jesus and his disciples also being invited. This is an indication that Mary and Jesus came separately, as Jesus was living in Capernaum and Mary was presumably living in Nazareth. The separation also indicates Mary was at the wedding prior to Jesus, as an invitee but also assisting in the arrangements. She probably was not the coordinator, but she was keeping up with what was going on behind the scenes. This would be how she was aware they were out of wine; and being an assistant to the wedding would indicate Mary was a relative who was lending a helping hand (as a woman, possibly on the groom’s side of the family).


From the website “My Jewish Learning,” in an article entitled “Wedding Rituals for Parents,” is written, “When it came to making arrangements for the wedding itself, much of the work continued to fall on the parents, in particular the bride’s mother. Since it was usual for the bride’s parents to pay for the wedding, they often took charge of planning the occasion according to their taste and budget. The young couple might be consulted for their opinions (certainly more the bride than the groom), but it was more often the parents who had the final word.”[3] This means Mary might have been at the wedding earlier than Jesus because it was the marriage of her son with Joseph, known as James. Because verse 12 tells of Mary, Jesus, his disciples and his brothers leaving Cana to spend a few days in Capernaum, one can assume the brothers of Jesus accompanied their mother to Cana, getting there early to also help and even playing a role as “best men.” The omission of Joseph informs the reader that Joseph (who was significantly older than Mary) has passed away.


Because we know that the wedding reception will run out of wine, there is the possibility of a Levirate marriage, which is defined as: “A type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband's brother.” This type of wedding was more common in ancient days and ordered in Deuteronomy. It was a way of strengthening a clan’s landholdings, which were inherited by the widow, by not allowing the widow to leave the family and let a husband from another clan get the rights to benefit from a new wife’s inheritance. It would make sense that less excitement would be put into planning and coordinating the ceremony, due to it being a procedural marriage. That could lead to not enough “spirits” being on hand; and it could help explain why Jesus was less than willing to volunteer to keep the after-party going. Such a wedding would set up the deeper reading into this miracle story as being symbolic of the lifeless-spiritless Jews of that day and age trying to retain possessions as a clan, rather than fulfill their agreement to be servants of the LORD.


2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.


“eklethe de kai ho Iesous , kai hoi mathetai autou , eis ton gamon .”


“was invited moreover also the Jesus, and the disciples of him, to the wedding.”


The presence of three comma marks in the Greek text means there is a separation between Jesus and his disciples going to the wedding. All were invited, but it would seem that the disciples of Jesus were his guests, more than having been invited by the marriage couple directly. The separation by comma can also mean the disciples were not yet accompanying Jesus in his travels, because it was not yet his “hour.” Thus, the separation leads one to think they all went to the wedding, from different places, as though all were told the directions to that place.


Since this is prior to Jesus beginning his ministry, we know that he has six disciples at that time. Four come from the accounts of Matthew and Mark: Simon-Peter and his brother Andrew, plus the brothers James and John of Zebedee. The naming of Philip and Nathanael, in John’s Gospel, makes the total reach six, prior to the wedding in Cana. While we know Jesus was living in Capernaum, the first six disciples were living in Bethsaida (both cities on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee), so it is logical to see Jesus leaving before the others, with them joining him there later.


3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”


“kai hysteresantos oinou , legei he meter tou lesou pros auton , Oinon ouk echousin .”


“and having been deficient of wine , says the mother the Jesus towards him , “Wine not they have.”


The Greek word “hysteresantos” says that a state is noted that a situation is “at the end.” This ending is then due to a lacking, a falling behind, a coming up short, depletion, and a state of dissatisfaction where the result leaves one wanting. The intent is to state the failure to reach a goal and missing out on what is vital. While this leads to that state being “of wine” (that made from grapes), one must notice the presence of a comma mark, which separates that state where a wedding is about to come to an end prematurely, due to a lack of fermented grape juice.


A separate statement is begun after that statement of fact, which shows a failure to meet a goal. This statement focuses on Mary speaking to Jesus. It is not so much a command she is making to Jesus, but her mentioning the obvious. She saw there was no more wine and she spoke that news to her son. The mark of comma that follows can then be read as a direct quote (which it is); but the capitalization of “Wine” becomes significant. More than the simplicity of beginning a new sentence with a capital letter, the capitalization shows a greater importance being placed on that one word, “Wine.”


As a metaphor, more than a simple focus on an alcoholic beverage, “Wine” is a statement of religious Spirit. When Mary told Jesus, “They have no Wine,” this statement has no primary importance as a direction to Jesus, as what he should do. Certainly, Mary was not expecting Jesus to blink his eyes (like Samantha and Tabitha on Bewitched) and create fermented grape juice, as if that was the normal way the family procured beverages they had run out of. The surface meaning is a simple statement of fact, probably with a sad face, rather than some maniacal look, as if saying with her eyes, “Quick! Go buy some more wine! They have run out!”


On a deeper level of meaning (which EVERYTHING in the Holy Bible is intended to state), Mary was sad that Judaism had reached a point of failure. It lacked true Spirit. It was more about saving money (thus not enough wine planned) and going through the motions of keeping everything in the family, without sharing their God with the world. In that sense, Mary’s sadness was projecting a suggestion that – perhaps – because Jesus was born to renew that Spirit of devotion within the people – maybe – there was something he could do then, to renew the Wine that was run dry.


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


“kai legei aute o Iesous , Ti emoi kai soi , gynai ? oupu hekei he hora mou ."


“and says to her the Jesus , What to me with to you , my lady ? not yet is come the hour of me.”


The Greek word “gynai” means, “a woman, wife, my lady.” It can also be translated as “bride.”[4] In the first translation options, “my lady” would make the most sense, because a simple statement by Jesus’s mother would give him no rational reason to snap back at her, referring to his mother as “a woman.” Still, when the option of “bride” is seen, his response makes perfect sense as a dual question, “What is this to me or to you? Are you the wife of the groom, the bride, whose family should have prepared better?” When the conjunction “kai” is seen to also mean, “namely, also, and even,” the question reads better as, “What does no wine mean to me? Even to you? Bride?” Still, the interrogative pronoun “Tai” (capitalized) is better translated as “Who.” So, the real question is, “Who is the bride to me or you?”


Bringing the aspect of the “bride” into the storyline becomes metaphor for everything associated with the Jewish marriage process. It brings in the oft used parables that would come later about the ten virgins and the bridegroom, the bridegroom and the wedding guests, and a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son (the bridegroom). The metaphor is for a marriage between God (the bridegroom) and the Israelites (the bride). As such, Jesus asked his mother how she had nothing to do with the lack of Spirit (“Wine”) as the “bride-wife-lady” of God (remembering that Mary was the mother of Jesus, while God was the Father.” The symbolism is that Jesus heard his mother’s lament that Judaism was without the true devotion as a wife of God, by asking, “Who is this you lament? To me born to you, the bride of God?” In essence, Jesus was the “bride” of God also.


In the Jewish tradition the marriage ceremony was less about two people in love and more about the contract between a husband and wife. Arranged marriages were standard. Jewish wives were never forced to have sex with their husbands, although they enjoyed full benefit of all that her husband had. Jewish wives retained ownership of everything she possessed prior to the marriage. A Jewish male was deemed unfit for rabbinical duty while single, which made marriage a mandatory obligation (between 16 and 24). A husband could have multiple wives (not common but allowed in instances), whereas the wife could only have one husband. This meant the wife was the part of the property of the husband, but the wife benefited from the protective partnership of a marriage.[5] That fairly well sums up the arrangement the Israelites had with God; and in the wedding in Cana the Spirit of commitment was missing.


Thus, when Jesus continued to say, “not yet is come the hour of me,” the intent was that his limited time to achieve a goal had not yet begun, nor ended. Jesus was fully committed to God, and he had just finished spending forty days being tested in the wilderness, after having been baptized by the Holy Spirit, by God. He was, therefore, full of the Spirit and in no way depleted, dissatisfied, or short of faith.


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


“legei he meter autou tois diakonois , Ho ti an lege hymin , poiesate .”


“says the mother of him to the servants , whatever certain thing he might say to you , accomplish .”


The Greek word “diakonois” means [plural number] “servants,” but also, “waiters, all who provide a service, and administrators.” In a Christian setting, it can mean “ministers” or “deacons,” while universally it is used to denote the servants to a king. Unless Mary was the mother of the bride and the coordinator of this event that had run out of wine, speaking direct orders to the waiters (doubtful), and only if she went to multiple people in charge of the waiters at the wedding, instructing them in how to save the wedding reception (also doubtful), Mary was speaking to the disciples of Jesus (who possibly were there to lend a hand).


When a disciple is seen as a “pupil, a learner, a follower” and “one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another,” then such a “servant” is an “ad-minister” or “deacon” to a head master priest. The disciples served Jesus as part of their learning from him. It would be right for Mary to give instructions to them, as the heirs to the new religious Spirit that would inspire servants to the LORD, especially after Jesus told her he was quite filled with the “Wine” of faith. Therefore, Mary’s instructions are like a teacher’s aide, telling the teacher’s students, “Whatever thing he might say to you … do it without question.”


On a higher level, relative to the Church that would come totally through the servants of Christ, where the Blessed Virgin is venerated and held in the highest regard, verse five should be talking to you. The Mother of Jesus the Christ, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, married to God and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ as her King, is telling all who forever will read her words and likewise be filled with the Spirit of understanding, they will follow her instruction. Whatever is said by Jesus, in the records of the Gospels, you must do this. The Greek word “poiesate” follows a comma of separation, so it stands alone to say, “Act,” and after Jesus was ascended, the first Apostles did just that. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles tells of the evangelism and ministry of Jesus reproduced. The letters of the Apostles tell others how to stay true to the Holy Spirit and become Saints, through their actions and support of other disciples.


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


“esan de ekei lithinai , hydriai hex , kata ton katharismon ton Ioudaion , keimenai , chorousal ana metretas dyo e treis .”


“were therefore in that place made of stone , water pots six , according to the purification of the Jews , standing , having room each a measure of 8.75 gallons two or three .”


This verse contains four separation commas, which are typically overlooked in the reconstruction for translation. When the comma mark is seen as an indication of separate focus, which then links to another separate focus, the words that can translate as “were therefore in that place made of stone” is a statement about the presence of a large stone bathing tub. One would presume the stone tub had a valve that could be opened to drain the water out of it after use. It would be an outdoor tub, not far from the well, surrounded by curtains or a wall. Without pipes and running water technology available, the stone tub would then require vases by which to bring water and fill it. The vases would be made with potter’s clay, making them lighter than stone and easier to carry with a full load of water from a nearby well. Instead of simply soaking in water, the vases might be poured over the bather.


With the comma mark separating the word “made of stone” and the statement “water pots six,” the separation then turns the focus to why there would be six pots for gathering water. The number six was seen as a number of perfection, because God made His Creation in six days. Bathing for six days was then the standard ritual cleansing a woman would go through after her period. A seventh bath would not require a ritual container, such that when Naaman was told to bathe seven times in the Jordan, to cleanse himself of leprosy, the last bath was to deem him holy, after six days of purification.

The measure stated is “metretas,” which is a measure of 8.75 gallons. The numbers “two or three” then act as multiplications of that measure, as estimates of total measure. Each jar was estimated to hold between 17.5 and 26.25 gallons of water. Rounded to 22 gallons per jar, the total gallons of water put into the jars would be 132 gallons. A U. S. liquid gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, meaning each jar would weigh 183 pounds. This would require two servants to carry a full jar from the nearest well (water source) to the place they were staged. For six water pots that size, one would expect twelve servants to carry them. Twelve servants is the size of Jesus’s “round table” disciples, although he only had six disciples at the time of the wedding in Cana (Simon-Peter, Andrew, Nathanael, Philip, James and John of Zebedee)


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


“legei autois ho Iesous , Gemisate tas hydrias . kai egemisan autas heos ano .”


“says to those the Jesus , “Fill the jars with water. and they filled them unto brim .”


The assumption here is that Jesus speaks to the servants (“diakonois”) that Mary instructed, but John did not write that word here. It is possible to read “legei autois ho Iesous” as Jesus speaking “to those of like mind,” to “those of Jesus.” In this sense, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. This would mean that Mary spoke to those she saw as servants or administrators of her son’s ministry, while also leaving open the possibility that the disciples were invited to the wedding as waiters. Either way, we see that John omitted the servant identification and simply says, “Jesus said to his.”


When Jesus instructs his disciples to “Fill the jars with water,” one needs to see that the jars are clearly purification jars, which all Jews would readily identify. The disciples Peter and Andrew were certainly former disciples of John the Baptist, who became disciples of Jesus after John identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God” and “the one” he spoke of (“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” John 1:29-30). John baptized the Jews with water AS A PURIFICATION, in the waters of the Jordan River, where Naaman was cured of his physical reflection of sin. Thus, this instruction to Jesus’s disciples bears much more meaning that the same instruction to some stranger waiters.


The next separate statement is the response of the disciples, where they filled the water pots full, up to the top. The word of interest here is “ano,” which not only means “to the brim,” but equally “above, heaven, things above, upwards, up to the top, and the heavenly region.” This becomes more significant than the simple filling of water pots, because it says the servants knew they were beginning a spiritual cleansing process, knowing that the water would completely (“up to the top”) be touched from “above,” by the “heavenly” Father. This means the disciples (regardless of whether or not they knew the wedding party was out of spirits) went to get water for a holy cleansing.


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


“kai legei autois , Antlesate nyn kai pherete to architriklino . oi de enenkan .”

“and says to them , “Draw out now and carry to the master of the feast. and they carried.”


Again, the first separate portion of this verse is similar to that beginning verse 7, without directly naming Jesus. The conjunction “kai” (“and”) connects the two verses, so the same speaker is Jesus. What is missed is the hint that Jesus speaks as the one from above, who speaks to his disciples as having the earthly authority of God. The instruction comes in two parts, one before the other. The first step is to “draw out now,” where “to draw” means to pour out some of the water that fills the six water pots. If the water pots were not ornate, being tall and having narrow necks, then they would have large openings at the brim. Such an opening would allow for a pitcher or ewer to be dipped into the water, in order to draw some out. That is the purest meaning of “Draw out,” rather than to pour, as it often means to lower a bucket into a well and then draw the bucket back to the top. Still, this could mean that (without touching the water or the water pots) Jesus was commanding the water (due to the importance of a capitalized word) to have properties that “Draw out” sin from within a person, rather than to have the normal properties of washing surface dirt off the top of a body.


The word “nun” is used in commands and appeals, as meaning “at this instance.” While it does mean “now” or “at present,” such that the instruction was to immediately do as Jesus said, the word also bring light to how Jesus previously said his hour had not yet come. “Now” is a statement of time, which indicates that hour is “now at hand.” Therefore, a miracle of Jesus was then “Drawn out” of him, by the powers of heaven.


The second step is then is for a portion of this holy water to be taken to the master of the feast. The word “pherete” means more than to simply walk something around, but “to conduct, to lead, and to make publicly known,” such that what was importantly drawn out is immediately brought to the attention of the man who is in charge of the wedding reception and the wining and dining going on. Still, one has to see the symbolic “master of ceremonies,” when the ceremony is a ritual purification by the Holy Spirit, is God. God is the one that Jesus instructed his disciples to make publicly known, as God had been “Drawn out at that time,” being in the water from heaven. That presence would be publicly known through the human being (Jew) acting as the headwaiter.


The last separate part of this verse then acts to continue the instruction to let God be known, as the act of carrying that announcement. God was publicly known through the act of taking a cup of drawn holy water to be tasted. The symbolism of this part is the chalice bearer in a Christian Eucharistic service. God is in the cup (wine mixed with holy water), which is then served to the faithful. The headwaiter is then symbolic of a rabbi (for Jews), who knows good wine from poor wine; but as one who has already been identified as “out of spirit,” Jewish teachers lacked the ability to carry the holy water to their needy members. It was the teachers that needed to be revitalized, so they could carry that spirit onward.


9 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


“hos de egeusato ho architriklinos , to hydor onion gegenemenon , kai ouk edi pothen estin , hoi de diakonoi edeisan hoi enlekotes to hyddor , phonei ton nymphion ho architriklinos ,”


“when moreover had tasted the master of the feast , the water wine having become , and not knew from where it was , the moreover servants knew the having drawn the water , calls the bridegroom the master of the feast ,”


The first separate statement is one of time, being “when” the cup of holy water has been passed (where “de” can mean “moreover” or “on the other hand”) the “taste” by the headwaiter becomes the “experience of the master of ceremonies.” The time when the transfer from the bearer to the needy takes place, one is able to taste the holiness of God. This is the primary focus of this statement, more than the simple tasting of water by a wedding master of the feast.


The second separate statement, following the first comma mark in this verse, says, “the water wine having become.” The statement makes it clear that it was water that was tasted by the headwaiter, yet it was water that contained the master of purification – God. Because what was in the cup was water, the taste is then that of “wine.” The flavor of wine is due to it being the fermented fruit of the vine (in most cases grapevines), where the addition of yeast (the leavening agent) acts to create the by-product known as alcohol. Alcohol quickly enters the bloodstream and makes one feel different. Thus, alcohol is considered a “spirit” because of this effect on a human being after consumption of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, this statement is less about water becoming wine, and more about the effect of water being like that of wine.


This leads to another comma mark and the third separate statement in verse 9. To ensure that the water is not mistaken for literal wine (red-colored, with sediment, smell, etc.), John wrote that this was “not” the case. The conjunction “kai” says, “and not,” where “kai” can translate as “namely,” meaning that to call the water wine was “not” correct. It was “water,” but they did not know what source made the water seem like spirits. They did not “know” because there were no physical signs of wine. The properties of the water were spiritual, which is a statement that John the Baptist had said, “I purify you with water, but the one after me will purify you with the Holy Spirit.” One cannot see the source of that Spirit, but it makes one feel high, like alcoholic beverages do.


At this point, John repeats the term “diakonoi,” so the ones of Jesus are identified as the servants who followed Jesus’s instructions. Following a comma mark of separation, John returned to the passing of the cup (“on the other hand”), back to the ones who carried the cup to the headwaiter. It was the taster who felt the effects of wine from the water. Here, John said the “servants” knew what they had dipped the cup into, which was not wine but water from the well, filled into water pots.


This then leads to the last comma mark and the separate statement that calls for the

bridegroom to have a conversation with the master of the feast. While that is the reality of the wedding that was witnessed by John and the disciples, the symbolic statement completes the statement of the servants knowing where the water came from AND knowing that Jesus (the bridegroom) had called up God (the master of the purification ceremony). That was the holy source of the water taking on a wine taste-experience, which was felt by the master of the feast.


10 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.”


“kai legei auto , Pas anthropos proton ton kalon oinon tithesin , kai hotan methysthosin , ton elasso ; sy teterekas ton kalon oinon heos arti .”


“and says to him , “Every man first the good wine sets on , and when they might have drunk freely , the inferior ; you have kept the good wine until now .”


This verse begins with the simple statement that indicates what was said by the master of the feast to the bridegroom (“says to him”), but this conversation is to be seen as inspired by having tasted-experienced God in holy water. As such, the master of the feast is like a rabbi that had been out of Spirit, but after tasting-experiencing God in holy water – INTERNALLY- he has been transformed into the bridegroom. He has become married to God, no longer dry of emotional joy for God, but filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the context by which the conversation should be read.


The capitalized first word is “Pas,” which means, “Every, All, The Whole, and Each Part of,” where the important focus begins with the universality of God to humanity and humanity’s need for God. As such, All mankind is to be the recipient of this experience of God, in a married relationship with the Lord unseen. Still, when we read what is first in this relationship, it is God that is the “good wine.” As for the Jewish people, who call themselves God’s chosen, they have been “set on” God through a Covenant that demands goodness from the people. High on the feeling of God having chosen them, the Jews have served God faithfully, as good fruit of His vine, fermented with “good Spirit.”


Unfortunately, they could not “set on good wine” forever, because they had not truly been cleansed by the Spirit within. This means that everyone can spend moments of time high on the Lord … when times are good; but when times sour, people often stop serving that “good wine” of devotion to God.


The comma of separation then states simply, “and when having drunk freely” or “and when intoxicated with wine,” where the abundance of God’s gifts have been abused. Instead of consuming the good wine of God for the purposes of becoming good wine that is shared with others (intended for “All”), the Jews had become intoxicated with their holiness, to the point of forgetting they were in a committed relationship with God. They became full of themselves as holy, without doing what they agreed to do. They became so drunk with the blessings of God that they lost everything.


This is stated in the next separate segment where we see how that drunken state led them to consume “the inferior” wines. More than physical wines, this means the acceptance of kings and queens who worshiped baals and lesser gods. They fell upon the hardship of doing nothing to stop the replacement of holy prophets and priests with those who served Lucifer and Satan. The “inferior” state of Judaism (the religion of Israel and Judah) led to them losing their land, having run completely out of “good wine.” The party was over, because they had no more wine.


This then leads to the final separate statement in verse 10, following a semi-colon, where the praise recognized is “You have kept the good wine until now.” This is a repeating of the timing of “now, at the present, and this instant.” The word translated as “have kept” (“tetērēkas”) also means, “have guarded, maintained, persevered, and watched over,” which reflects the continued acts of ritual ceremony the returned from exile Jews were maintaining, in hopes of renewing their Covenant with God. Because they had run out of wine and had no true Spirit left, God could see their efforts, such that ‘from the stump of Jesse would come a new branch.” That stump would be where the “good wine” would be stored, to be brought out by Jesus, when his time had come. It was that “now” time then.


11 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.


“Tauten epoiesen archen ton semeion , ho Iesous en Kana tes Galilaias , kai ephanerosen ten doxan autou ; kai episteusan eis auton hoi mathetai autou .”


“This did beginning of the signs , the Jesus in Cana the of Galilee , and revealed the glory of him ; and believed on him the disciples of him .”


Verse 11 begins with the capitalized first word “Tauten,” which means “This,” which is reference to “You have kept the good wine until now.” The translation as “This” then becomes analogous to the best wine God has kept until then, which is the Holy Spirit offered by Jesus. Therefore, “Tauten” is the pronoun meaning, “He,” who is God through the Christ, as the Son. The “hour” of Jesus had begun then, with the sign that was the best wine being still to come. The sign was the first where Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit, served as a cup of water that was experienced like fine wine.


It was a “sign” of the power of Jesus, as the Christ, which first took place in Cana of Galilee. It was a sign that took place at a wedding, a ceremony of union between two lovers. It was a sign that the union had been a loveless relationship, with all Spirit between the two run dry. The sign was the replenishment of God’s love in the Jews of Cana.

It was the first sign that was revealed publicly the relationship Jesus had with God. It was only witnessed by a select few; but those who knew could see the glory of God shining through Jesus. This one act made the disciples of John the Baptist, who had shown their faith to follow Jesus and see, be convinced he was indeed the one who had baptized with the Holy Spirit, returning the wine of Spirit to the Jews.


This miracle is less than a magician’s trick, where sleight of hand can swap a cup of water with a cup of wine. The disciple-servants never saw anything but water, just as believers in God can never see Him. The miracle that caused the disciples of Jesus to believe in him was they saw the results the water had on a taster, after Jesus had called forth the Father to bless that water. The water was consumed, so it had an internal effect, rather than an external one. Seeing, in the case of the disciples, was reason to believe; but the miracle the witnessed had nothing to do with physical wine being obtained so the same drunken state of Judaism could be maintained. Their eyes experienced a Spiritual renewal of a commitment to God.


As the Gospel reading selection for the second Sunday after the Epiphany, it should be realized that this miracle has little to do with wine. The wedding party ran out of alcoholic beverages. At no point did Jesus say, “The water is now fine wine.” The water became living waters, which brings on the ‘high’ that is the Spirit of Yahweh. Thus, the overall symbolism of a “wedding banquet” is it is a soul’s marriage to Yahweh being celebrated. The wives are all souls in human bodies of flesh that submit themselves to Yahweh. The fact that Jesus is present (but it was not yet his time) says people believe in his deity; but he has not yet become one with their souls. When he put water into purification jugs, this was symbolic of the spiritual baptism that Jesus brings. Thus, his first miracle is the Epiphany of his presence in one’s soul.

[1] http://www.interfaithfamily.com/life_cycle/weddings/Timing_and_Location_of_a_Jewish_Wedding.shtml [2] http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/time-place-for-a-jewish-wedding/ Article written by Barbara Binder Kadden. [3] http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/wedding-rituals-for-parents/ Article written by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer. [4] http://biblehub.com/greek/1135.htm From Strong’s Concordance, “guné,” from “gynai.” [5] http://www.jewfaq.org/marriage.htm Found under “Judaism 101 – Marriage,” and the subheading “The Marital Relationship.”

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