Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.

John 2: 10

At this moment toward the end of that very short time that Jesus had to live in our midst, He does something that is so simple and yet is miraculous. They are all attending a party, a marriage celebration. These celebrations are very festive, and they are important for the entire community, too. For these people a marriage has symbolic and actual value. It is the actual coming together of two individual people who form a new family unit with all of its potential for productivity and fruitfulness. The marriage also symbolizes the continuation of God’s people as was promised by the Lord. So, I don’t think that it was  an act of coincidence that caused Jesus to perform this first of His numerous miraculous signs at this occasion.

It has long been my impression that this story is about Christ’s mastery over creation. I have considered the point to be specifically about how God’s love and compassion is brought to meet the needs of individual people. This still seems like a worthwhile concept to take from this event. Yet, I now think that there is something else here that is much greater in its significance. Jesus doesn’t use just any water. He uses water that was put into the jars that were designated for holding water for “the Jewish rites of purification”. This water was an integral part of their religious system, and it was essential for use in ritually cleansing the people who were participating in the feast and for doing the same for the utensils that they used. Jesus could have gathered water from other sources. He could have had it drawn straight from the well. But He directed that these jars be filled with water.

As we know, when the water is tasted by the presiding expert, the master of the feast, he proclaims that it is the good wine. Jesus has taken that which requires time and human labor in a process that can be challenging and filled with difficulties to produce, and He has accomplished it in an instant by the power of His word. Even more significantly, He has taken the water which was weak and temporary in its effectiveness to purify and to bring the people and the things of this world into a state of acceptance before the holiness of God, and Christ has changed it into the new wine that is perfect and imperishable. The old covenant of works and human endeavor has come face to face with the new one that is founded in the gracious love of God and that is made real in the sacrificial obedience of Christ. Here, at a humble wedding that was held in an outcast land, the reuniting of sinful humanity with its Creator is celebrated with a deep drink from the wine of salvation’s cup.