Welcome to week 2 of June, Guest Blogger Month. Last week Janet mentioned the wedding at Cana. This week my friend Amy digs into the significance of this narrative. I bet you’ll be challenged as I was when I read her words.
Have you ever had to plan a wedding? Make an invitation list? Decide what food to serve and if there will be music? Where will the celebration be held? What decorations should be made? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera . . . wedding planning is a lot of work!
Some have suggested that the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11) was a festivity that included family members of Jesus, perhaps a cousin marrying a dear friend. Why else would Mary, the Mother of Jesus, be so concerned that the guests’ wine supply had run dry? She told her son all about it. And how did Jesus respond? “Woman . . . My hour has not yet come.”
The Gospel of Mark 4:34 says, “He (Jesus) did not say anything to them (his disciples) without using a parable.” With this in mind, can it be that the response Jesus gave to his mother speaks more broadly of his mission on earth—not merely that of a single event—the wedding feast at Cana? Could the term woman be a reference to the Church? (The Church is often referenced in the feminine form, such as, our Mother the Church, or the Church, She is growing worldwide).
Even so, Jesus reacted to the commonplace request made by his mother (Mary, the wedding planner!) and changed water into wine. This was the work needed at the moment. It was appropriate. It was his first miracle.
This first work of the God-Man on earth pointed to his ultimate mission: to receive upon himself the full penalty of our sin. Never before in any religion had any god devised such a self-sacrificial plan. The creation of water into wine was not just a party favor. Jesus created something entirely new.
But is it significant that there were six jars? All made of stone? Consider: it took six days to create the world and everything in it; the seventh day is Sabbath—the seventh day for rest.
Six jars stood ready at the wedding in Cana—each a living stone. Why? Because every jar was busy at work holding water—water intended for use in the rite of Jewish purification. It is this water that Jesus changed into wine. Wine comes in part from squeezing the lifeblood out of the grape. Scripture often equates the blood of grapes with wine (Revelation 14:20, Isaiah 49:26).
“Unless you eat my body and drink my blood . . .” John 6:53.
Jesus offered a foreshadow of this kind of refreshment to the woman at the well when he said, “If you knew the gift of God . . . you would have asked . . . and he would have given you living water” John 4:10.
It is work to ask.
It is work to give.
Why Cana? Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Cana has six roots, the first meaning “to create.” Another root means reed, or staff. Does an image of the budded rod of Aaron held by Moses over a rock from which water gushed come to mind? Another root of Cana is lamentation or a very sad song.
If I placed before you six jars of stone, each filled to the brim, and gave you the opportunity to ask Jesus to transform the contents so that you would finally be able to rest (there is no seventh jar), for what would you ask? Look into the jars.
You are the Bride of Christ. Ask Him to replace what is lacking. Take your refreshment at His well. Drink his wine. Rest.
Historical Novelist Amy Nowak has lived in and researched the American West for over thirty years. Her exploration of prehistoric ruins and study of European expansion has inspired her to write candid stories that embrace bygone events, while her approachable characters arouse vitality, spiritual contemplation, and hope. She loves southwestern style food and dithers between red sauce and green, but she’ll take either with a squeeze of lime.
You can find Amy at http://www.amynowak.com