Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “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.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Here we have an account of Jesus’ first miracle. For me at least, it is also his most confounding. I have heard a few decent explanations that may well be valid. My favorite take is that this sign was in fact Jesus’ first healing, and a mass healing at that. The logic behind this perspective is that the water would have otherwise been undrinkable’that the bacteria-laden water of that time would have sickened the wedding guests had Jesus not turned it into wine. I have preached that one myself, but I’m honestly not totally convinced that it’s a thing. Plus, I have to swallow my pride and acknowledge that Jesus was not as tee-totaling as myself, and that he may not have shared my negative bias toward alcoholic beverage.
Psalm 104 is a deeply inspiring hymn to the Creator, praising him for the wonder of his innumerable works. And right there in verse 15, the psalmist praises the Lord for bringing forth wine “that gladdens human hearts.” In the Bible, wine stands as a versatile symbol, and it is sometimes used as a symbol of joy. Whether or not wine brings joy is beyond the scope of my experience, but I do know that Jesus liked to spread the joy. And, as long as folks weren’t trying to attain joy at the expense of someone else’s joy, Jesus himself was a joyful person.
On my refrigerator, I have a picture of the Laughing Jesus. The expression on his face reveals a deeply seated joy that has spontaneously sprung to the surface . . . a joy that employs the entire face in an urgent attempt to express itself. Jesus was full of joy. It was a joy that was rooted in his knowledge of the Father. He had submerged himself in his Father’s kindness and he had come up laughing. Joy filled him to the point of overflowing and spilled onto everyone who came close to him—unless they were allergic. So I guess it wasn’t about preventing dysentery any more than it was about advocating public drunkenness. It was about what it is always about; Jesus manifesting himself as God’s Spirit-filled emissary, come to save us from sin and from sadness.
Giver of life and light, make us radiant with joy. Heal us at the root so that we can celebrate from the depths of our being.
AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH, AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.
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