Doesn’t Jesus turning water into wine feel like a pop culture miracle? Is there any other miracle where it’s just about having a good time at a party? You’ve been there. At a party and someone needs to make a beer run, or in this case, a “wine run,” and the person who draws the short straw goes.
The problem is that this is 1st century Cana and there aren’t many convenience stores right around the corner. So, if you can’t make a wine run, then what do you do? I suppose the party usually starts to wind down.
But the point is, they ran out of wine and instead of someone making a wine run Jesus just changed the water into wine. It’s his first recorded miracle and he’s not healing the sick, raising the dead, or feeding the hungry. He’s just making sure the party doesn’t end. You can almost picture him listening to Robert Earl Keen on his iPod, “… the road goes on forever and the party never ends …”.
I also like this story because Jesus seems so real. When they run out of wine, his mother Mary comes up to him and says, “They have no wine.” And then Jesus says to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Then Mary basically walks away and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Some fun family dynamics are going on here if you read in between the lines. After Jesus reproaches her, you could just picture her walking away, basically saying, “Fine! Just do whatever he wants.” Then after that statement, Jesus goes ahead and does what his mom wanted him to do despite what he said earlier.
I think it is also easy to be a little hard on Jesus here. His response, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” seems kind of harsh. But if we take the incarnation seriously and remember that the divine nature was united with the human nature then it’s easier to understand. It has probably been a very long day. The wine is gone and that means everyone has probably been drinking heavily, including Jesus. He’s reclining with his friends and here comes his mom, asking him to do something. His response is almost like, “Mom, it’s not my day to take out the trash.”
I wonder what happened next? Why did Jesus decide to change the water into wine after this interchange with his mother? Was it because of their family dynamics, sort of a roll of the eyes and a “fine!” Or did it finally dawn on him, “Hey, we’re out of wine!” It could be some other reason, but I like these two the best because they are the funniest.
I wonder if this pop culture miracle occurred at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to tell us early on that everything was going to be different with this guy? That he was going to be unpredictable, exciting and eventually completely transformative.
David Dreisbach serves as Director of Communications for the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.