From baptism to a wedding, here is that water again. Interesting thing abut this gospel story is that the story is about a wedding that took place in Canna over two thousand years ago. It is arguably the most famous weddings in recorded history, yet the couple who are entering into this wedding are not mentioned. Neither the bride, the groom are described. What is known is that Jesus turns water into wine at His mothers request, and He does so after He tells His Mother this is not His mission. It is Jesus first miracle, and it is the third Epiphany. Why is this story told?
I would think the first place to start is with water and wine. The water we met at the Baptism of the Lord, and the jugs are mentioned to be used for a ceremonial cleaning; a ritual washing which is a baptism of sorts. It is an ancient Jewish ritual of purification before eating, and I would think that links it with Johns baptism of repentance. If you think back to the Baptism of Jesus, He purified water through His baptism. Water in the bible often is associated with death, from the flood of Noah to the crossing of the Red Sea. IN Christian baptism we die to sin and rise in Christ. That gives a synopsis of water, but now what about the wine?
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, “
or your land “Desolate, “
but you shall be called “My Delight, “
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.
Wine then is much like wine today. It is celebratory. It is a joyous drink that often represents joyous relationships between God and His people. It is from the fruit of the vine, a bountiful harvest. It is Joy. Often when this story is interpreted, one point made is that when the wedding ran out of wine, it was one that lacked joyful celebration. It turned into drudgery. Some associate that as social commentary on temple leadership of the day. That might be true, but is that the entire meaning of the story? One detail of the story is that when Jesus told the waiters to fill the jugs, they filled them to the brim . When Mary told them to do whatever He tells you, they were obedient. Let’s highlight this statement. Lets emphasize the devotion to Mary. It is important!
They filled them to the brim, they provided an abundance of water. That detail comes to life when the water is turned into wine. Wine overflowing from a container is symbolic of Gods Abundant goodness. At Sabbath the Kiddush cup is filled to the brim, a plate is placed under the cup to catch the overflow. The headwater tastes the wine , as the person leading Shabbat does so too. This wine takes on new meaning, it begins to describe the relationship between the people of the covenant and God. That relationship is often described as a marriage between God and man. Might the reason be that the couple is unnamed because it is the beginning of a marriage between Creator and creation, between God and man? I think of that water in the river Jordan, is that where it began its transformation? That is where they begin the procession. As Jesus tells Mary this is not His hour. There is more to follow and that path is well described in the wedding vows that are so familiar. Richer, poorer, sickness, health. The reminder is that the journey is a celebration, from its Nativity to the Passion and through its Easter and everything in between.