John consistently refers to Jesus’ acts of power (miracles) as signs. It’s a good word since signs show the way. Signs aren’t important. What signs signify are. Don’t get hung-up with the sign itself. Discern what the sign points to so that you can see more clearly what Jesus wants you to see.
Prepare to listen. Quietly pause and prepare to receive the Word. When ready, pray: Lead me in your truth, and teach me. (Ps 25:5)
Prayerfully Read John 2:1-11
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.
There’s so much that could be said about this delightful and frustrating story. But I focus on one thing, Mary’s almost casual comment: ‘They have no wine.’ It seems some guests had already had enough and were drunk, as the steward seems to say (v10). They didn’t need more wine! But Mary seemed to think so and thus she ignored Jesus’ seeming reluctance to act, and boldly told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Jesus’ mother forced him to step up and begin his mission by dealing with a frivolous problem of wine-failure near the end of a wedding.
Had Mary come to Jesus with a problem of no food for the hungry, I’d get it. That would be a good way to launch Jesus’ mission. But Mary knew that her God is interested in all of life, even seemingly frivolous stuff. Jesus stepped up, obeyed his mother, demonstrating God’s extravagant generosity. He changed water in 6 stone jars which, in today’s terms, amounts to about 700 bottles of wine!
This generous abundance of wine lavished at an unknown couples’ wedding is a symbol of the abundant life Jesus promised and the grace he lavishes on us. This, I imagine, is what Mary wanted the world to see in Jesus.
What intrigued you in this familiar story? What reflections do you have on Mary’s comment about the wine? What do you see today?
Respond to Jesus
Lord, it seems Mary believed nothing was beyond your realm of concern, not even lack of wine. Help me to live more like Mary today, believing everything, however seemingly trivial, is of concern to you. And then give me faith to ask you for help. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world where nothing is outside of Jesus’ concern.
Note: If you want to read more on the symbols and signs in this story, see my article, ‘They have no wine,’ at: https://www.storymakerlife.com/they-have-no-wine.htm
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.