Key Verse: “The governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
THE SETTING OF OUR LESSON is in the region of Galilee. Jesus had been traveling in this area, selecting his disciples, when he was invited to attend a marriage celebration in Cana, a small village less than ten miles from his home town of Nazareth. Traveling from the northern portion of the province, Jesus arrived in “Cana of Galilee” on “the third day” of his journey. Those who had invited him, his mother, and his disciples to the wedding were evidently either relatives or close friends, given the proximity of Cana to Nazareth. (John 2:1,2) In addition, Cana was the home town of Nathanael—one of the latest additions to the number of Jesus’ disciples.
Nathanael at first had doubts when he was told by Philip that Jesus was the one “of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.” He asked Philip, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip replied, “Come and see.” (John 1:45,46) Upon meeting Jesus, the Lord said of Nathanael, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael inquired how Jesus knew of him. Jesus explained that he had seen him under a fig tree before Philip had approached him. Knowing this to be true, Nathanael proclaimed, “Rabbi [Master], thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”—vss. 47-49
Continuing with the account of the marriage in Cana, upon his arrival Jesus was informed by Mary his mother, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3) Jewish wedding customs included supplying their guests with wine, and with none available, Jesus saw this as an opportunity to perform what would be the “beginning of miracles” during his earthly ministry. Although the immediate result of Jesus’ miracle was to supply the marriage feast with wine, the more important lesson was that it increased the faith of his disciples. It “manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”—vs.11
In preparation for the miracle, Jesus instructed servants to take six water pots and fill them with water, which they did. The change of the water into wine was evidently instantaneous, because Jesus told the servants to take the pots of water and “draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.” (vss. 6-8) When the governor tasted the water that was now made wine, he inquired as to how this had come to pass. (vs. 9) Although no answer was given, the governor spoke to the bridegroom the words of our Key Verse, gladly pronouncing the wine to be of the very finest quality. He praised the one who had provided it, noting that the best wine had been served, rather than that of lesser quality, which was often the case.
There is a symbolic lesson in this experience. Water is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of the Word of truth, and is also called the “water of life.” (Eph. 5:26; Rev. 22:17) As Jesus instructed the servants to fill the vessels with water, we are to be imbued with the Truth, and “filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18) Thus, the water of truth becomes the “wine” of sound doctrine, by which we are changed—“transformed by the renewing” of our minds.—Rom. 12:2