Summary: The miracle of turning water to wine at the wedding at Cana. A story of transformation.
Got Wine ?
January 14, 2001
We’ve all seen those billboard commercials sponsored by the American Dairy Association that picture actors and other famous people with a milk mustache. The caption reads, “Got Milk ?” Well, you probably didn’t realize it, but in the time of Jesus they had the same billboards, only they were put out by the Israeli Wine Association and had the caption, “Got Wine?” And that was a question that was being asked at this wedding feast we hear about in this morning’s Scripture reading.
Many of you probably recognize this morning’s passage as the Wedding at Cana. This is a miracle story in which Jesus turns 180 gallons of water into the finest of wines. But before look at this miracle, I have a funny little story I want to share with you.
Have any of you ever seen Bill Cosby’s show Kids Say the Darnest Things ? Well my daughters and I were watching that show a few years ago and Bill Cosby had Art Linkletter on his show. Now some of you who are old enough, will remember Art Linkletter’s show with the kids. Well Bill Cosby showed a clip of one of those shows.
In this clip, a much younger looking Art Linkletter was asking the kids to tell about their favorite Bible story. This one little girl said her favorite story in the Bible was when Jesus turned the water into wine at the Wedding at Cana. Art said, “Yes, that is a wonderful miracle, isn’t it!” He then asked the little girl what that miracle tells us. The little girl said, “When you’re out of wine, all you have to do is get down on your knees and pray." Well now we all know what to if we ever run out of wine !
Now I have preached on this text before, and I must admit that I have spent hours pouring over commentaries researching the meaning of this miracle. I guess I could have saved myself a lot of time by just asking this little girl for an interpretation. For her it was quite simple. When you are in need of something, all you have to do is get down on your knees and pray. I would much rather look at this miracle through the eyes of this little girl. Within the simplicity of her response we can see the enormity of her faith. She knew that Jesus would provide.
Now before we start on our journey into this passage of Scripture, I’d like to set the stage a bit. We must understand that a wedding in the time of Jesus was a lot different than our weddings of today. Weddings were a big deal in the Jewish culture. A wedding in the time of Jesus was an event in which the whole town participated.
The wedding ceremony would take place late in the evening after a time of great feasting. The father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm, and with the wedding party following behind them, they would parade through the streets of the village so everyone could come out and congratulate the bride. Finally the wedding party would arrive at the home of the groom. The wedding actually took place in the front door of the groom’s house. The festivities lasted for days. It was a time of great celebration.
There was no such thing as a honeymoon either ! The couple kept open house for a week. The groom’s family was expected to provide all the refreshments for this week of festivities. To run out of provisions for the wedding guests was a social nightmare.
Think of all the things that could go wrong at a wedding today. The best man faints. The organ doesn’t work. A fight breaks out in the pews amongst the new in-laws. Someone forgets the rings. That is one my great fears with weddings. I fear getting to the part of the ceremony where the couple exchange their rings and the best man has forgotten the rings in the glove compartment of his car. Not only has he forgotten the rings in the car, but because of a little too much celebration the evening before, he’s forgotten where he left his car ! I now ask for three things before I start a wedding service – the marriage license, my check and the rings !
But short of the bride and groom not showing up for the wedding, to run out of food or wine at a wedding was worse than any of these things. You see, hospitality in the ancient East was a sacred duty. Failure to provide provisions would be a terrible humiliation for the family of the bride. The wedding would be the talk of the town for years to come.