“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding” (John 2:1-2).
Two things stand out to me in this story of Jesus turning water into wine. First, Mary expects her son to do something about the wine running out. No doubt for a long time Mary had wanted to share with others the secret about Jesus. She wanted them to know that he was no ordinary child, that he was the “Son of the Most High” who would one day establish a kingdom that will never end. But that grand achievement seemed very remote on that day in the little village of Cana when the wine ran out before the wedding was over.
Her request is, “My son, do something about this.” She meant, “You have power they know nothing about. Use it to solve this problem.” Was she expecting Jesus to work a miracle? If so, she could hardly be faulted for wanting others to know the truth about Jesus.
Second, we see in this miracle the reticence of our Lord. He does not work a miracle of new creation by creating wine out of nothing. When the miracle is done, he lets the servants announce it. During his earthly ministry Jesus was always conscious that his hour (the time of his suffering) had not yet come. He would not unnecessarily reveal himself nor create a public stir. So he turns the water into wine, but he does not make a great display of it. Later miracles (such as the feeding of the 5000) would be more public. This first miracle adds to the joy of the wedding but does not distract from the purpose of the day.
Did the newlyweds know that Jesus had turned the water into wine? Perhaps, but we can’t be certain. Did they become believers? Again, we don’t know. But this miracle benefits everyone who came to the wedding. They drank the “good wine” even if they didn’t know where it came from.
Mary will live to see her wish come true as multitudes believe in Jesus. But for now, this first miracle brings joy to a wedding feast. Those who understand believe in him.
A “quiet miracle” saved the day at Cana. It is a harbinger of much more to come.
Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see you at work all around us. Thank you for giving joy that can never be taken away. Amen.