Near Netufa Valley in the Galilee, just north of Nazareth,
lie the ruins of ancient Cana, the biblical city where Jesus blessed the wedding guests by changing water to wine
(John 2:1-11). Remains of the stone jars in which the water was held can still be found in the area among the ruins.
The Book of John tells us that the water for the wedding was kept in “six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.” (John 2:6)
After his momentous baptism at the Jordan River (John 1:32), the Master had returned to his home in the north of Israel where he had already gathered together several of his disciples including Simon, Andrew, Phillip, and Nathaniel (John 1:35-50). Joining his mother and other members of his family, he had come to Cana to attend a wedding.
But his growing fame had gone before him, and when he reached the feast it was already overrun with those wanting to see the now famous Jesus. By the afternoon, it is said that the crowd was so thick that it must have looked more like a public reception for Jesus than a wedding. Now everybody wanted to greet this famous Galilean.
As you imagine yourself standing among the crowd, you can see the radiant but humble Galilean greeting the crowd,
both young and old, Jew and gentile. A shout goes up as Jesus agrees to lead the wedding procession, taking the hands of the bride and groom and walking with them to the Chupa, the marriage canopy. Having just assumed his new role, Jesus appears able to astutely fuse both his divine and human natures.
As you watch, an older woman approaches him. Is it Miriam (Mary), his mother? What is she asking him? A look of disappoint crosses the Master’s face as you hear him say to his mother, “If you love me, then be willing to tarry with me while I wait upon my Father’s will.” (John 2:4) Still there is a certain kindness in his face as he says this. But at this point Mary breaks down saying, “But my son, I have promised them. Won’t you do it for me?” What is it she wants? Now she is standing before him motionless, tears streaming down her face. Jesus begins to comfort her. You can almost see his heart breaking under the pressure being placed on him to begin his ministry, to completely reveal himself to the people. Now he is whispering something into Mary’s ear.
Suddenly she jumps up with glee and turning to the servants says, “Whatever my son says, that do.” (John 2:5) The wine that Mary so much desired and Jesus, in sympathy for his mother was willing to provide, was forthcoming. Turning to the servants Jesus said, “Fill the jars with water,” which they did. He then commanded them to draw some out and take it to master of the banquet. After tasting the water now turned to wine, the master of the banquet called the bridegroom aside saying, “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.” (John 2:7-10)
Jesus had performed his first miracle.