The meaning of the water turned to wine at Cana in John 2 video discussion

The Sunday lectionary gospel in Year B for Epiphany 3 is John 2.1–11, the ‘sign’ of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. (The ecumenical version of the lectionary has a reading from Mark; in the Church of England version of the lectionary, it was also the reading on Epiphany 3 in Year C, two years ago, so we are revisiting.)

It offers us a good example of John’s remarkable ability in story-telling, where he combines an intense attention to realistic detail with powerful evocation of the scene. In 11 short verses, we are taken into both the reality and the emotion of the event, so it is no wonder that the story is so well known that the phrase ‘turning water into wine’ (like ‘walking on water’) has become something of a cultural trope.

Come and join Ian and James as they discuss this reading. This is a reposting of the video from two years ago—which was our first ever video together! Please note that the sound and video quality has much improved since then—but we hope the content is a useful as ever. James even talks about the mechanics of making the stone jars!

For a written discussion of the text, see the previous post here.

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3 thoughts on “The meaning of the water turned to wine at Cana in John 2 video discussion”

  1. The first time I listened to your commentary on the Wedding at Canna I was inspired to write a short story, set in the cellar where the jars were kept. Each jar gets filled one after the other and Jesus turns each one into wine as soon as it is filled. This enlivens the servants to quicken their pace in order to see what Jesus will do next. Each jar represents both the six days of creation and important moments in the Bible. The character of each wine is reminiscent of each era. Each wine better than the last. Each time Jesus names the jar: Noah’s; Ur’s; Moses’s; Jordan’s etc.. loosely mapping the days of creation with major Biblical events, e.g: Day 3, land and sea = Jar 3 etc. Eventually the last jar contains the best red wine and Jesus sends them up to deliver it. He names the last jar Siloam.
    It is impossible not to give meaning to the six stone Jars. I give meaning to the 30 gallon jar by making it the last one filled: Jesus, at age 30— the one sent.
    Well, I had fun with it and it’s thanks to you.

  2. This miracle is akin to Moses’s first miracle turning water to blood {at the molecular level.}
    It is also a part of the blessing mentioned in
    Psalm 104 v15 et al; which is exemplified in the spiritual reality of the Eucharist and not just it’s ritual experience.
    That is to say the gladness of the heart and life
    It is ably commented on in

    “six jars were destined not for wine but for water used in ritual of cleansing (John 2:6), and Jesus shows by the miracle that the maximum degree of cleansing available in Jewish tradition before Him was not enough to infect humans with divine grace and make them glad, make them inebriated by the divine blessing of New Commandment. The cleansing by water signified a
    possibility of leading a virtuous life within human terms and capacities, the wine into which this water turned, thus, signified inadequacy and insufficiency of this virtuous life with reference to divine life, which seems a crazy type of life for all who don’t accept Christ as God and Saviour and are not led by Holy Spirit.”

    This blessing is an enablement to serve the Lord God with great gladness Act 2:13 & 46-47

  3. Hi James – I made it 138 litres (you’re not the only engineer) which I like to think is enough to fill a very small baptistry but I think that is a bit fanciful. In any case who would want to get baptised in wine?
    Do you think the filling to the brim and overflowing with the ladles is a pre-echo of Ephesians 3:19 ‘…filled to the measure of all the fullness…’?


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