The Turning of Water into Wine

Title: The Turning of Water into Wine

Bible Book: John 2 : 1-11

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: Miracle of Jesus; Water into Wine



As I was considering this passage, I couldn’t help but think of the old story about the Irish priest who was driving down the interstate and got stopped for speeding. The state trooper smelled alcohol on the priest’s breath and then saw an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, “Sir, have you been drinking?” “Just water,” says the priest. The trooper says, “Then why do I smell wine?” The priest looks at the bottle and says, “Well there you are! He’s done it again!”

I don’t believe He did it again, but I do believe the Lord performed a miracle in John 2 when He turned the water into wine. Our brother quoted the writer last week who said that the water blushed in the presence of its creator.

Harold Wilmington wrote…

While omitting many of the miracles reported in the synoptic Gospels, John chose seven, apparently to help show that Jesus is the Messiah (20:30-31):

1. Changing water to wine (2:1-11)

2. Healing the nobleman’s son (4:46-54)

3. Healing the lame man at Bethesda (5:1-18)

4. Feeding 5,000 (6:5-14)

5. Walking on water (6:16-21)

6. Healing the blind man (9:1-7)

7. Raising Lazarus (11:1-45)

Jerry Vines said…

There are approximately thirty-six recorded miracles of Jesus given in the four gospels. Jesus performed obviously more miracles than this but in those four gospels there are thirty-six of them recorded. When you come to the gospel of John you will find that there are seven miracles Jesus performed given to us in his book. Now you may recall that John tells us in John chapter 20, verses 30 and 31, that these miracles were selected for a specific purpose. You remember he said, “These have I written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name.” And so John had a spiritual purpose in mind when he included the particular miracles that he did. That’s why in the eleventh verse, at the climax of this miracle, John adds, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” You see, the miracle accomplished exactly what John said the miracles were intended to do.

It is a very interesting thing to study these miracles of Jesus and follow them in sequence. They’re kind of like pointers, they point from themselves to a deeper, more spiritual meaning. You will notice in verse 11 it says this is the “beginning of miracles.” John is saying, “That’s the first miracle I’m including.” You might flip over quickly to the fourth chapter of John toward the end of the chapter. In fact the last verse of John chapter 4, after Jesus had performed the miracle of healing the sick nobleman’s son, and John says in verse 54: “This is again the second miracle that Jesus did.” Now you see what he’s doing? He’s counting them for us at the beginning. The beginning of miracles: that was the first one. This is the second miracle: that was the second one. And so, you see, he’s letting us know by his language that he has a particular purpose in mind by these miracles. You see, John is showing us that what Jesus did in the physical realm He is also able to do in the spiritual realm. Far more important than miracles in the realm of nature are miracles in the realm of the spiritual. It is a miracle indeed when God created the world; it is a far greater miracle when God creates a new life in a human heart. And so this is the first, this is the beginning miracle of Jesus, and it is intended to teach us something about the way of salvation.

In his book “Authentic Christianity,” Ray Stedman said that…

An alcoholic became a believer, was asked how he could possibly believe all the nonsense in the Bible about miracles. “You don’t believe that Jesus changed the water into wine do you?” “I sure do, because in our house Jesus changed the whiskey into furniture.”

This first recorded miracle performed by Jesus points us to the miracle of the salvation of the soul.

I. Notice That The Setting Of This Miracle Was A Wedding

A. This Was A Happy Environment

(John 2:1) And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

1. Consider The Essential Happiness Of A Jewish Wedding

Adam Clarke wrote…

Some suppose that the third day, mentioned here refers to the third day of the marriage feast: such feasts lasting among the Jews seven days.

(Judges 14:10-12) So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. {11} And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. {12} And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:

2. Consider The Exceptional Happiness Of Jesus At A Wedding

It’s interesting that the first miracle in the life of the first Adam was a wedding, as God created woman from Adam’s rib, and then the first miracle in the life of the last Adam was at a wedding.

Again, Adam Clarke wrote…

Marriage is ever honourable in itself; but it is not at all times used honourably. Where Jesus is not invited to bless the union, no good can be expected; and where the disciples of sin and Satan are preferred to the disciples of Christ, on such occasions, it is a melancholy intimation that so bad a beginning will have a bad ending. I am afraid we may search long, before we find a marriage conducted on such principles, as this appears to have been, even among those who make more than a common profession of the religion of Christ.

B. This Was A Humble Environment

(John 2:1) And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

1. The Destination Signified The Humbleness Of This Environment

Cana [KAY-nuh; “reeds”] A village of Galilee where Christ performed his first miracle. Located in the hill country west of the lake. (PC Bible Atlas)

Albert Barnes said…

This was a small town about 15 miles northwest of Tiberias and 6 miles northeast of Nazareth. It is now called Kerr Kenna, is under the government of a Turkish officer, and contains perhaps 300 inhabitants.

Adam Clarke said…

This was a small city in the tribe of Asher, and by saying this was Cana of Galilee, the evangelist distinguishes it from another Cana, which was in the tribe of Ephraim, in the Samaritan country.

2. The Deficiency Signified The Humbleness Of This Environment

(John 2:3) And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

wanted – Greek 5302. hustereo, to be inferior; generally to fall short (be deficient):--come behind (short), be destitute, fall, lack, suffer need, (be in) want, be the worse.

II. Notice That The Seeker Of This Miracle Was A Woman

A. This Woman Had A Request

1. She Asked Jesus To Come To The Ceremony

(John 2:1) And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

Barnes said…

[The mother of Jesus] Mary. It is not improbable that she was a relative of the family where the marriage took place.

(John 2:2) And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

called – Greek 2564. kaleo, means to “call” (properly aloud):--bid, call (forth).

2. She Asked Jesus To Change The Circumstances

(John 2:3) And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

Again, Barnes said…

[They have no wine] It is not known why Mary told this to Jesus. It would seem that she had a belief that he was able to supply it, though he had as yet worked no miracle.

B. This Woman Had A Realization

1. She Needed To Realize Jesus’ Authority

(John 2:4) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

Matthew Henry wrote…

Though, as man, he was David’s Son and hers; yet, as God, he was David’s Lord and hers, and he would have her know it. The greatest advancements must not make us forget ourselves and our place, nor the familiarity to which the covenant of grace admits us breed contempt.

He would not be manipulated. Any intervention would be according to His timetable.

2. She Needed To Realize Jesus’ Ability

(John 2:5) His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

A Bishop Huntington said…

On the part of Mary there was evidently a mixture of perplexity, impatience, reverence, and trust. The impatience was sufficiently reproved and restrained. His “woman,” etc., dispelled her rising complacency, and placed her on that level of human dependence where, with all her loveliness, beauty, and sanctity, she must ever remain. Christ’s word was a call for increased faith. For thirty years Mary had carried in her soul the memory of the strange events which signalized His birth, etc. As yet He had given no supernatural sign. Was it not almost the “hour?” Just at this point of uncertainty she stood, but when she looked at Him all her doubts fled, and all fears sank to rest in one resolution of trusting obedience. “Whatsoever HE saith.” One voice is singled out, and that has supreme authority. (From The Biblical Illustrator)

There is a sense in which she had to relinquish her role as mother, and she had to realize His role as Master.

III. Notice That The Subject Of This Miracle Was The Waterpots

A. Let’s Consider The Suggestive Number Of The Waterpots

1. This Reminds Us Of The Number Of Man’s Carnality

(John 2:6) And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Cf. (Revelation 13:18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

2. This Reminds Us Of The Need For Much Cleansing

(John 2:6) And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Hugh Macmillan said…

Another thing that strikes us is the enormous capacity of these water-pots, which were capable of containing from sixteen to twenty-four gallons each. (From The Biblical Illustrator)

If they had exhausted 96 (6 x 16) to 144 (6x 24) gallons of water in purifying, then much cleansing must have been needed.

B. Let’s Consider The Suggestive Nature Of The Waterpots

1. They Had A Hard Nature

(John 2:6) And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

of stone – Greek 3035. lithinos, means stony, i.e. made of stone.

(Ezekiel 11:19) And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

(Ezekiel 36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

2. They Had A Hollow Nature

They were empty, for … (John 2:7) Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

IV. Notice That The Supply Of This Miracle Was The Water

The water could be a further indication of humanity, for in speaking of fleshly birth…

(John 3:5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

But because the water is put into the vessels, it seems more likely that…

A. The Water Points To The Word That Is Involved

1. There Is The Apparent Association With The Word

(Ephesians 5:26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

2. There Is The Abundant Application Of The Word

(John 2:7) Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

fill – Greek 1072. gemizo, means to fill entirely.

B. The Water Points To The Work That Is Involved

1. There Is The Work Of Difficulty

(John 2:7) Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

Again, Hugh Macmillan said…

We’re not told how far they were from a water supply, but they brought about 96 to 144 gallons of water to the pots for “Owing to their large size and great weight they were not movable, but were fixed in one spot.”

(From The Biblical Illustrator)

In using this situation as an analogy of salvation, then between verse 7 and verse 8, I would put…

(Romans 10:17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

2. Then There Is The Work Of Distribution

(John 2:8) And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

What good is it to have the wine in the waterpots if it is not shared?

V. Notice That The Success Of This Miracle Was The Wine

Jerry Vines said…

There’s a man named Patton who wrote a little book entitled, “Bible Wines,” which in my mind is the authority on this subject. He has totally researched it and he points out that the word ‘wine’ is a generic word that is the translation for an Old Testament word that was used of wine, either fermented or unfermented wine. And so it was used interchangeably. The word ‘wine’ here is the Greek word ‘oinos’, o-i-n-o-s, which can refer to fermented wine or unfermented wine. Personally I could not in a million years ever believe that this wine right here is fermented wine and I’m going to tell you why.

Jesus wouldn’t create something that deceives the soul…

(Proverbs 20:1) Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Jesus wouldn’t create something that defies the scripture…

(Ephesians 5:18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

A. There Is A Suggestive Aspect In This Wine

1. It Speaks Of The Comforter – The Holy Spirit

(Ephesians 5:18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

2. It Speaks Of The Covenant

Moses turned water into blood in the Old Covenant

(Exodus 7:19) And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.

Jesus turned water into wine, which speaks of the New Covenant

(Mark 14:23-25) And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. {24} And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. {25} Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

B. There Is A Surprising Aspect In This Wine

1. Look At The Surprising Transformation

(John 2:9) When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

This is the first time the transformation has been mentioned. It seems like it happened all of a sudden.

2. Look At The Surprising Taste

(Psalms 34:8) O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Jerry Vines mentioned the quantity and the quality of it.


When something amazing happens, we often say, “It’s a miracle!” But more than likely that is not technically correct. It was not a true miracle. It was amazing, it was abnormal, etc., but was it a miracle?

What is a miracle? A scientist gave the following definition of a miracle on an April 14, 1995 PBS program. He said, “A miracle is nothing more than a natural law not discovered.” So, he doesn’t believe in miracles. He thinks everything can be explained scientifically. This is an attitude, which at the least denies any intervention into our world by God, and more than likely means that scientist denies the existence of God. I don’t see how raising someone from the dead, restoring a blind man’s sight, etc. are natural laws not yet discovered. This is obviously a bad definition.

What is a miracle? “A miracle is an unusual and significant event (terasa), which requires the working of a supernatural agent (dunamis) and is performed for the purpose of authenticating the message or the messenger (semeion).”

Hampton Keathley IV

John W. Peterson wrote…

My Father is omnipotent

And that you can’t deny;

A God of might and miracles;

‘Tis written in the sky.

It took a miracle to put the stars in place;

It took a miracle to hang the world in space.

But when He saved my soul,

Cleansed and made me whole,

It took a miracle of love and grace!

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