On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee.
“On the third day” Now what in the Christian story happened on the third day?
Once that connection is made and you realise – oh yes, Jesus rose from the dead - we have the key to unlocking the secrets of this passage. John called these types of events “signs” because he wanted us to direct our attention to their inner spiritual meaning beyond the mere superficial “wonders”. In fact when you put those two words together “signs and wonders” John uses them in a disparaging sense.
This story operates on different levels and in it Jesus’ mother Mary symbolises old Israel and Jesus the new revelation – the new faith – which explains the rather brusque way Jesus talks to his mother. Loving and respectful but the new faith is breaking away.
The water too can be interpreted as the Jewish religion. The water jars were for ritual washing, an important part of the faith – but significantly there were only six of them – a sign of imperfection because in Hebrew numerology seven was the number of perfection. So the turning of water into wine can be seen as the perfecting, or the fulfilling of all the Old Testament prophesies, finally all coming to fruition in Jesus.
All true, but if we look a little deeper again you can glimpse something still more.
On the third day there was a marriage in Cana.
On that day there was a marriage between heaven and earth. They were joined together and could become one flesh. The Spirit wed permanently to our hearts and our lives.
And in so doing our life – plain water – could be transformed into rich wine.
The water in this story is you and I. We have the good news of Jesus, his rising from the dead, his Spirit joined to mankind to ensure that we have life in all its fullness – which as Jesus says directly later in John’s gospel (10:10) is the very reason that he came.
This first sign in John’s gospel coming right at the start of the gospel is the keynote sign – it is the gospel in miniature. When God’s Spirit is poured into our hearts we become truly alive – born again.
Our perspectives and priorities change. We want to please God by walking the way he’d like us to walk on the path that leads to life.
As James says(Jesus’ brother 2:19) when explaining the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. “You believe in one God. Good. Even the devil believes in God”
Walking the walk happens when our hearts are converted and the Spirit rests there and his presence positively affects our life and actions.
It is when we respond to Christ that our lives that to turn from water into wine. That is not a leap into the dark but a step into the light.