19: Water and Wine
There was a wedding in Cana, the little village in Galilee where Nathanael lived. The whole house was filled with music and sounds of joy. A young man and a young woman sat next to each other in their most beautiful clothes. They were happy and thankful, for they were beginning a life together. They had invited their family and friends to join them in the feast. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there too.
Jesus had not been in Galilee long when this wedding was held. He and His disciples were invited to the wedding. The people here knew Nathanael, but the other disciples were also welcomed heartily, for they were with Jesus.
At this joyful wedding feast, Jesus sat in the midst of the guests and ate and drank with them. Repeatedly Mary's eyes wandered to the figure of her grownup son, who had already left her household to take up God's work. She noticed how humbly He sat at the table among all the guests.
But when the feast was in full swing, it appeared that the joy would suddenly be spoiled. The servants who circulated among the guests pouring wine were huddled together in earnest discussion. The bridegroom, who had been so happy only a few moments before sat staring straight ahead, looking embarrassed.
Mary soon figured out what was wrong. The poor bridegroom! She could certainly sympathize with him. He had been hospitable enough to invite all these people to his feast. Now, the feast was not nearly over and all the wine was gone.
The bridegroom couldn't buy any more, for he was not wealthy. What would the guests say if there was such an early, disappointing end to this joyful feast? People would never forget it, and the bridegroom would feel ashamed all his life.
There was only one person who could help, Mary thought. Jesus, her son, was always wise and good. He would know what to do. But He could see for Himself what was wrong. Why didn't He do something about it? Why did He stay sitting where He was?
Mary went over to Jesus. In her concern for the embarrassed bridegroom, she forgot that Jesus was much more than her son. She whispered to Him, "They have no wine!"
But Mary could no longer tell Jesus what to do. Jesus had begun His divine work. Now He had to obey only one person—His Father in heaven. His Father would know when it was time for Jesus to step in and help. No one could come between Jesus and His Father—not even His mother Mary.
Jesus spoke to her in a friendly but determined way, "Woman, why do you bother Me with this matter? My time is not yet come."
"Not yet," Jesus had said. That made Mary feel better. He did want to help. He would not disappoint those who fixed their hopes on Him!
Mary went to the servants and pointed to Jesus. "Do whatever He tells you," she whispered.
There were six water jars near the servants. They were great stone pots; each one had a capacity of about 100 liters. The water in the pots was used to clean the vessels and to wash the guests' hands.
There were six water jars, and there were six unexpected guests at the feast—Jesus and His five disciples.
The Savior spoke to the servants, "Fill those jars with fresh water."
Immediately they obeyed, for there was plenty of water. They filled the jars to the brim.
Then Jesus said calmly, "Draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
The master of the banquet was a friend of the bridegroom. He was in charge of all the arrangements. He showed the guests to their places and tasted the wine before it was served to the guests.
"What is he supposed to do with the water?" thought the servants. They looked at Jesus with puzzled faces. They remembered what Mary told them, so they obeyed.
Quietly, so quietly that no one noticed, a divine miracle had happened. The servants had poured water into the stone jars, but they drew out wine. Now there was an abundance of wine in the house. Not even a wealthy man would have that much wine on hand.
The master of the feast tasted the wine without knowing where it had come from. He cried out to the bridegroom in amazement, "People usually put their best wine on the table first and save the poorer wine for later. You have kept your best wine back until this moment!"
Soon all the guests knew what had happened. They were awe-struck as they drank the wine, with their amazed eyes fixed on Jesus. Who was this man who had done such a great miracle in their presence?
The disciples knew who He was, and their hearts were bursting with joy. They were delighted to have Jesus as their Master. They no longer had to take John's word that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. With their own eyes, they had witnessed a demonstration of His power.
When they were with John they had fasted and mourned on account of their sins. Now that Jesus was their Master, their sadness and longing were turned into joy, just as the water was turned into wine. As long as the disciples stayed with Jesus, they could celebrate a continuing feast in their hearts.