On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
This miracle story seems to brim with invitation to metaphorical interpretation. It is too bizarre a narrative to be taken literally.
- A wedding where the wine runs out. Really?
- A mother who doesn’t become offended by the dismissive comment of her son. Really?
- Six hundred litres of ceremonial ablution water that become wine without incantation or intercession by Jesus. Really?
It is a story that just cannot be taken at face value. At least not whilst you are sober!
Maybe that is the whole point. This is not a story for sober judgment.
It is a miracle of intoxicating import.
It is a story of hope for those embarrassed hosts at life’s party who find themselves under resourced and red-faced at the possibility that the celebration has exceeded their most careful planning and logistics.
It is a story of detachment by a wise rabbi who realizes that miracles don’t require interference or intervention. All miracles need is willing participation in the unfolding of the mystery. To be open to the possibility that hospitality can supersede holiness and that vessels are better filled with joy giving wine than justifying washing rituals.
It is a story of extravagance where the cautious vintage of the careful caterer crashes out before the sparkle of the spontaneous appearance of grace.
It’s an inebriating insight into the life of Jesus.
It is a miracle of the Divine Domain. Drink up!