On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When 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 and 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.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Jesus did this, the first of his signs … and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
In times past people used to use maps and signposts to guide them as they travelled from place to place. Today we tend to rely on our Satnavs – those magical machines that even know how to re-route us when problems lie ahead. Of course, our reliance on that mechanical voice and its connection to a mysterious system of satellites and algorithms deprives us of a developing acquaintance with the ‘real picture’. An old-fashioned map tells a story as it details all that surrounds the roads along which we travel. The colourful display on our Satnavs omit that detail and lead us blindly along unknown roads towards an unclear destination.
Jesus’ miraculous turning of plain water into the finest of wines is described by the Gospel writer as the first of his signs. This act, which defies the laws of nature and therefore qualifies as a miracle, is a signpost pointing us towards what lies ahead. At this stage in the journey the destination is unclear, even though it has been foretold for many centuries. The miraculous nature of this first sign does, however, reveal Jesus’ glory to those who have eyes to see. This first sign affirms the belief of those first disciples who had so readily stepped out of their everyday lives onto the unknown road that God had prepared for them.
As Jesus turned water into wine, he was not merely saving a young couple from the disgrace of not being able to entertain their wedding guests. Jesus was also pointing the way to something very new and exciting. Jesus was introducing humanity to a power that is far beyond our mortal understanding. Jesus was revealing the divine power that would inspire his teaching and preaching, enable his ministry of healing and exorcising, and would see many more nature-defying miraculous moments.
Today we are invited to gaze in wonder as his glory is revealed. Today we are called to join those first disciples in committing ourselves to follow him in faith and joy and love. Today we are being encouraged to turn off the mechanical systems that guide us through this world and follow the detailed signs that Jesus laid for us … the signs that lead us closer and closer to God.
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