In our last lesson in John 2, we found Mary telling the servants to follow Jesus’s instructions. Next, we see that Jesus moved from being a guest at the wedding, to loving Son, and then the host. He lovingly honored His mother and her request by telling the servants to fill the jars that stood nearby with water.
John tells us in verse 6 that, “Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing.”
According to Jewish ceremonial law, the people and the objects they used became symbolically unclean while performing their activities for daily living. So they used the water in these jars for purification purposes. When the pots were full they could hold up to 20-30 gallons of water. (Which, if I did the math right, this would provide the guests with about 120-180 gallons of liquid.)
And verse 7 tells us that the servants obeyed Jesus’s instructions and filled the jars to the brim with water. Then Jesus instructed them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. This man was also a servant, but much like a head waiter of our day. And again the servants did as Jesus instructed.
When the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine, we are told he did not realize where it had come from. The servants who had drawn the water knew!
Can you imagine the shock on their faces?! I mean really, think about it!
Here they had just poured water into these huge jars and then put that water into serving pitchers. Yet when they poured it into the cup and handed it to the master of the banquet, the water turned to wine.
These servants, probably considered the lowest people at the wedding, were the first to witness the first miracle of Jesus.
After the master of the banquet had tasted the wine, he pulled the bridegroom aside and commended him on his excellent expression of hospitality. Probably much to the surprise of the bridegroom also!
It was a common practice for people to serve the best wine first. Then they would bring out the cheaper wine after the guests had had much to drink and wouldn’t be able to taste the difference.
Instead, this bridegroom was blessed by Jesus and commended for reserving the best for last.
There is so much symbolism here in these verses but, unfortunately, I don’t have time to go into all of it. I will say it could be that this first miracle was not only to fulfill the physical needs of the people at the wedding celebration, but also to serve as a sign pointing to a greater fulfillment yet to come.