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 after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
The wine-miracle at the wedding in Cana is the only one in which someone’s health or safety or life was not at stake. Unlike the healings or the exorcisms – or the stilling of the storm or the multiplication of loaves – no one is in danger at this wedding party, and Jesus performs this sign simply for the joy of it, or because his mother expected him to take care of the need for the celebration at the wedding reception.
It was a miracle which clearly demonstrated the love of God for all people.
In those days wine was generally safer to drink than water, because the alcohol in the wine would neutralize most microorganisms found in the local water source. After the wine ran out early those guests who didn’t want to drink water could simply have left the party and gone home.
There was no deep human need for this miracle except to help the hosts, the bridegroom, bring joy to the gathering. So perhaps the recording of this event has more to do with its value as a sign than as a practical relief of deep human need.
With the telling of this miracle, John invites us to consider how some of the ordinary activities of our lives might be resituated in the context of God’s gifts of love that we can share. God opens before us new possibilities of exemplifying those ideals in our own actual daily events which might bring about joy and shared well-being with others. Just being present to step up and help another person at an important moment in their lives can demonstrate the presence of Christ among us in our everyday life events.
I have experienced many of these miracles of God’s love.
The most recent was when I was slated to bring my favorite broccoli-cheese soup to one of our church communities’ Advent Soup Suppers and could not because of a back ailment. A dear friend and a noted chef and gardener in our congregation volunteered to make my soup for me using broccoli out of her own garden. Her gift of love provided a delicious bowl of soup for many church goers that evening. It was certainly not six 20-30 gallon vats of wine created out of, water, but it was plenty of soup to go around and fill the appetites of our people. It was a miracle of God’s love in action, a miracle of broccoli cheese soup created out of a heart of love and devotion to God’s love for all people.
This first sign of Jesus as the Son of God helps us to see how the ordinary actions in our daily lives can become occasions of extraordinary grace. We all can go out and engage such gifts of helping others as a joyful sign of Jesus presence and gift of love. We may never know that the good we do in Jesus name to help others who are in need, may be more meaningful or more powerful a deed than we can possibly imagine. How about you?
- Have you been the recipient of such gifts of love lately?
- Have you given the miracle of God’s love to others lately?
Look around you and these miracles are being performed almost daily by God’s beloved people. Why not take the opportunity to let God work some of these miracles through you?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.