A first century Palestinian village wedding. It was a week long celebration full of music, dancing, plates piled high with mouth watering food, wine flowing freely. A nervous bride and bridegroom, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles, cousins, mothers and fathers, children underfoot. It was an event sure to break the monotony of first century living.
Six stone water jars. 20 gallon symbols of the Old Covenant holding water used in the ceremonial cleansing of the defiling grime encountered throughout the course of the day. When the wine ran out, Mary turned to Jesus to save the party and spare the host embarrassment. Reluctant at first, Jesus takes hold of the moment to make a point that would not be understood until after his Resurrection.
He instructs the servants to fill the stone vessels with water to the brim. Water is turned into wine and not just ordinary wine, but the BEST wine. The master of ceremonies, ignorant of where the wine came from praises the host, “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.” John 2:10. Isn’t that just like God by breaking into the norm to surprise and delight?
There is more to this miracle. Fast forward to Jesus sharing his last supper with the disciples. He extends a cup of wine to them and says, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20. Jesus’s first miracle points to his ushering in of the New Covenant. We can’t keep our half of the Old Covenant despite our best efforts. All the water in the world can’t cleanse us of our sins. It’s only by the blood of Jesus that we are made pure and holy and able to come into the presence of God. When we grab hold of Jesus and ask for his cleansing and forgiveness then we step into the beauty of the New Covenant. Only He can present us to the Father. The best part of the party begins the moment we accept the cup Jesus offers.