On 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.
I’ve always been curious, just whose wedding Jesus and his mother were attending that his mother felt compelled to offer help? I’ve also been curious just how did she know Jesus has such miraculous power to turn water into wine? Was this something he’s done before, when their own family had questionable water sitting at home and a family meal was about to start? Or as the mother of the Savior, Mary thought being of additional assistance to maybe a close family friend to not be embarrassed at such an important event, she nudged Jesus to help, somehow? Wine, a much preferred and varied drink was abounding in Jesus’ time. Though the people had water and not understood bacteria and disease as we understand it today, they did connect unclean or unsafe water with illness which wine did not. The process of turning grapes into wine has long fascinated archologist as they have tracked the development of a community with their ability to create wine, from simple feet presses, to elaborate and large winepresses of stone. Ancient people also enjoyed wine from around the known world, from Carmel and even Italy were discerning on what was considered good or weak; as the chief steward notes of Jesus’ miracle. Many varieties were available, as confirmed in ancient writing as well as archaeologist’s continual discoveries of pottery shards and ancient wine cellars. Serving of wine, especially at celebrations, were a sign of wealth and prosperity as well as the gift of hospitality. Even today, we enjoy the gift of fellowship around a glass of wine, and of course, that gift of new life of wine (or grape juice) at the eucharist.
Lord of abundance and celebration, you reveal yourself in the gift of wine for a celebrating couple and in your ultimate gift of new life in you. May the cups we raise in remembrance be ones of honor and also joy. May the miracles of abundance continue to multiply not just the drinks but also your glory, in Christ’ precious name, we pray. Amen.