RCL Year C Epiphany 2
Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, I Corinthians 12:1-11, Saint John 2:1-11

“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”[1]

The Gospel of John is constructed upon a sequence of Jesus’ signs—the word Saint John uses to describe the wondrous deeds of Jesus. The changing of the water into wine at Cana is the first of those signs, and, as the first, it is the least of those signs, because they build in importance and significance until the last sign Jesus performs: the raising of Lazarus. Taken all together, this sequence of signs presents a progressive revelation of the glory of God’s only Son who comes among us to reveal the Father and then returns in glory to the Father. The purpose of the sequence of signs Saint John explicitly declares in chapter twenty of his Gospel: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”[2]

This sequence of signs has power to bring us to believe, because only God can do them. God makes wine every day from water. Rain falls and waters the vines. With sunshine and the proper climate, the vines produce grapes, which are harvested and crushed. The natural process of fermentation goes forward according to the natural laws God continues to sustain, and, in time, rainwater yields to wine. God changes water into wine every day.

What Jesus does at the wedding in Cana of Galilee is to short-circuit the natural process. He does what God does, but he does it more quickly and dramatically. The short-circuiting shows that the doer is the same doer of the natural process. And, here in this Gospel, the short-circuiting shows that Jesus is God.

Through this miracle, Jesus is speaking to us, as he always does through the Gospel.  He’s telling us that when our wells run dry we should talk to him, just as his blessed Mother did.  When your party’s fizzled, or your life is running dry, or when you’ve run out of gas or energy, or when you’re discouraged, you should talk to the Lord.  If he can change water into wine, he can change despair into hope.  If he can save a wedding reception in Cana two thousand years ago, he can put a little umph into your life.  But you have to talk to him, and you have to let him, just as his blessed Mother did. Expect Jesus to do what God does. Expect him to push along the natural process to its fruitful conclusion, and coöperate with him.

The natural process that God has put into motion by bringing you to life is a good work that God wants to continue and to prosper. The One who changes water into wine every day can bring you to your perfection in his sight. Why would we not run headlong into his love and into “the well of life,” as the Psalmist calls it?[3] “So shall your God rejoice over you,” as Isaiah prophesied so long ago.[4]


[1] Saint John 2:1-11.

[2] Saint John 20:30-31.

[3] Psalm 36:9.

[4] Isaiah 62:5.