Water into Wine: Homily on John 2:1-12

“‘Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’”


In this moment, a moment that is comprised of a series of statements, I hear a question. Now, anyone in my theology classes won’t be surprised to hear that or be surprised to hear this: sometimes, deeply imbedded in statements is a yet still yet deeper question. Here, at the wedding of Cana, is not merely a story about water being turned into wine in order to prevent shame falling on the bridegroom’s family, or is it merely a list of historical facts about an event, it’s about a deep seated human question: does God care? Does God care even about this small thing?


And the resounding answer according to this text is: yes.


Everything about the wedding at Cana is ordinary. Very, very ordinary. We’ve made a big deal of it because it’s Jesus’s first performed miracle. But it’s not that extra-ordinary. The miracle here is merely the transition/the transubstantiation of water into wine. Water, by the word of Christ, becomes wine. That is what happens here. Nothing more; nothing less. For the man Jesus who is the Christ, who is God, this is nothing. Yet it’s here in this very basic act of turning water into wine (basic for God) where Jesus demonstrates his glory. God’s love for God’s people manifests even here.


This event reminds me of the prayer that we pray every chapel service: the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray according to the scriptures. Specifically from “The Lord’s Prayer”: “Give us this day our daily bread.” God cares deeply about our days-in and our days-out. We are exhorted by Christ to pray for our daily bread; and it’s not merely “spiritual” bread, but the very substance that nourishes our fleshy bodies. The concept of bread in this prayer is all about that very food you eat every day. And God cares about that. The nitty-gritty of our lives is God’s own concern.


Every minute, every moment, goes noticed. Every moment crosses God’s screen. Imagine that. Imagine for a moment that God of very God thought it worth God’s time to change water into wine. Take that moment. Think about that fact. Think about that very minuscule act for us. Water into wine.


Think also about the fact that ”joy” took over. It’s water into wine at a party, a celebration. Jesus didn’t say, “all right folks, wrap it up, wine’s gone; take your party else where.” Instead, Jesus intervened, albeit in the smallest way, and made the celebration and the joy continue. Whether or not joy was the divine goal in this event, the celebration and joy of the attendees of this wedding banquet played a part in it. Isn’t that amazing?


God cares. 100%. God cares about you and your daily ins and outs. The God that threw the universe into order has deigned to turn water into wine. And that God did this is because God cares very much about you. God cares so much that God will throw God’s self aside in the advent and crucifixion and resurrection of God’s son, the Christ for the world.


When you think all else has failed, it is Christ who hasn’t. All of our desires and our failures can plague us. But it’s the small things, the daily bread and the water into wine that keep us moving from day to day. These small things are important. Because the more we have these small things the more we have evidence of Christ for us, we have the hope that this is not all…that there’s more.


In the very small acts we meet God face to face. And we meet a God who cares. We meet a God who loves us to the core–down to the deepest core of our being. We meet a God who loves us and cares about us to such an extent that even the smallest needs of ours are God’s, too.

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