Since the beginning of the year, I’ve replaced some of my podcast listening time during my commute to work with listening to Scripture. There was a familiar passage this week: Jesus turned water to wine as His first public miracle. As I was listening, I noticed some things in this passage that I had not really thought about before.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

John 2:1-11 (NIV)

God’s Story of Redemption

One thing I’ve learned about Scripture is that small details that might not seem important are there for a reason. Those details would have been omitted if they were not important. Another thing I’ve learned is that all of Scripture points towards Jesus Christ. This redemptive story that we call The Bible is all about Him.

Sacrifices were made to atone for sins in the Old Testament, and they point towards The Perfect Sacrifice who died for all sin. The blood of the lambs used in Egypt to save the Israelite firstborn sons points to the blood of The Lamb that was shed on a cross to save us.

It might seem insignificant, but the water jars in John 2 were the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing. These vessels were not used for wine, or any other kind of drink. They held water for people to cleanse with, and Jesus caused the water that the servants filled them with to become the best wine at the wedding.

Even Jesus’ first miracle points us towards the cross and our redemption through Him. When Jesus gathered with His disciples in the upper room during Passover, He used wine to represent His blood. It is His blood that washes away all of our sins.

Water, Wine, and Blood

The account of the water to wine miracle at a wedding is not meant to be an allegory of Jesus dying for us on a cross, but none of the details are there by accident. The best wine of the party poured out of cleansing jars sounds a lot like the cleansing flow of Jesus blood.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow.

Nothing But The Blood (Plainfield), Robert Lowry. © Public Domain

Jesus transformed water to wine in containers set aside for cleansing. He told His disciples to remember Him through bread and wine representing His body and blood. That precious flow of Jesus’ blood poured out on the cross cleanses us of all unrighteousness.