Joe Kovacs reveals the untold meaning of the water-into-wine miracle
By Joe Kovacs
Has the true location of Jesus' first public miracle, transforming water into wine at a wedding, been found?
And could it mean it's time to uncork the true, deeper meaning of this spectacular event?
Just this week, Britain's "Daily Mail blared the headline: "Is THIS where Jesus performed water into wine miracle? Archaeologists in Israel uncover tunnels they say could be true location of Wedding at Cana."
The Mail explains that for hundreds of years, many pilgrims have been under the impression the event took place at Kafr Kanna, a town in northern Israel where many visit the 20th-century "Wedding Church."
But the site of what's recorded in the second chapter of the gospel of John has been long debated, and archaeologists are now turning their attention to a hillside some five miles to the north. It's known as Khirbet Qana, and was reportedly a Jewish village between the years of 323 B.C. and A.D. 324.
Dr. Tom McCollough, director of excavations at the site, told the paper there are three other potential locations for the place where Jesus turned water into wine, but "none has the ensemble of evidence that makes such a persuasive case for Khirbet Qana."
"We have uncovered a large Christian veneration cave complex that was used by Christian pilgrims who came to venerate the water-to-wine miracle," he explained.
"This complex was used beginning in the late fifth or early sixth century and continued to be used by pilgrims into the 12th-century Crusader period. The pilgrim texts we have from this period that describe what pilgrims did and saw when they came to Cana of Galilee match very closely what we have exposed as the veneration complex."
The location features an altar and the remnants of a large stone vessel, along with space for five more. The Bible account states: "And there were set there six waterpots of stone ... " (John 2:6 KJV)
McCollough also cites the records written by Flavius Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian.
"His references to Cana align geographically with the location of Khirbet Qana and align logically with his movements. The reference to Cana in Josephus, the New Testament and in the rabbinic texts would argue the village was a Jewish village, near the Sea of Galilee and in the region of lower Galilee."
"Khirbet Qana fulfills all of these criteria," he added.
The fresh discussion over the true location of Cana provides the perfect opportunity to revisit what took place there, because upon close examination, there is much more to it than merely the place where Jesus performed his first first miracle.
Here's the Bible text itself of the famous event:
On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus's mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding as well.
When the wine ran out, Jesus's mother told him, "They don't have any wine."
"What does that have to do with you and me, woman?" Jesus asked. "My hour has not yet come."
"Do whatever he tells you," his mother told the servants.
Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons.
"Fill the jars with water," Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim.
Then he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter." And they did.
When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from — though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom and told him, "Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now."
Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11 CSB)
So, on the surface, we see Jesus turning plain water into superior wine at a wedding feast. But there is much more than that when we keep in mind the entirety of Holy Scripture and think about what God is saying on the spirit level.
The first thing to keep in mind is that God is someone who declares "the end from the beginning." (Isaiah 46:10) In other words, he tells us about the end result of all things by what happens at the start. All through Scripture, the events at the beginning keep pointing toward what will happen at the end, specifically the return of Jesus and the kingdom of God here on Earth.
Believe it or not, this first miracle of Jesus is declaring the end from the beginning, telling us what's coming in the future. Let's examine how.
The event at Cana is a wedding. It is the uniting of a bride to her groom to commence their life together, joined as a single family.
In case you never realized it, the Bible outright declares that the end of the story, when Jesus returns, is also a wedding. Jesus, who is sometimes called "the Lamb," marries his bride, which, spiritually speaking, represents all those people who faithfully follow Him. Here it is:
Let us be glad, rejoice, and give him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. (Revelation 19:7 CSB)
Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:9 CSB)
Even in the Old Testament, God says he's married to His people: Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you (Jeremiah 3:14 KJV).
So, the marriage at Cana when the bride begins her life with her husband is a foreshadow of the ultimate marriage, when the believers (the bride of Christ) begin their eternal life with their spiritual husband Jesus.
What else happened at the wedding at Cana?
There was a miraculous and instantaneous transformation of water into wine.
What does this remind us of when it comes to the end of the Bible? How about the instant transformation of our human, mortal, physical bodies into our immortal, spirit bodies?
Yes, this wonderful event will eventually happen, but not until the end when Jesus returns. The apostle Paul describes the change this way:
It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:52-53 NLT)
Thus, just as the ordinary water at the Cana wedding had its physical nature miraculously changed in an instant to become something quite different (and some would say much better), so our ordinary bodies will be miraculously changed "in the blink of an eye" into something far superior: bodies that never die. The fact that the wine saved for the end is called the "good," "best" or "fine" wine, depending on your Bible translation, may be referring to the good nature of those being granted eternal life. In other words, they have repented of their sins and will have become perfected, just as good wine gets better with age.
Here are some other fascinating points about this spectacular event.
Jesus wasn't the only one invited to the wedding at Cana. His disciples were invited, too. It will be the same scenario at the end-time wedding as well, as we've already read: "Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!" (Revelation 19:9 CSB)
The story tells us that turning water into wine was "the first of his signs." In other words, it was the first public miracle of Jesus. So from the very start of His ministry, He was declaring the end from the beginning, pointing to the future wedding feast at His return.
The account also mentions that it was at this wedding in Cana that "He revealed his glory." We should ask ourselves: "Won't Jesus be revealing His glory when He returns at the future wedding feast as King of kings and Lord of lords?" The answer is a definite yes, and believers will actually share in that glory: "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4 CSB)
The Cana wedding took place on "the third day" (John 2:1). This could, (and I stress could), be a reference to the third day representing the future kingdom of God. For instance, Hebrews 3:18 states: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." If "yesterday" is Day 1, the pre-human era before the creation of Adam, and "today" is Day 2, everything taking place right now since Adam was created, then the "third day" could represent "forever," as in the eternal kingdom, which commences with the marriage feast of the Lamb. Just something to think about.
And there is one final point from the Cana wedding that is very easy to miss, yet it's extremely important.
"Do whatever he tells you," his mother told the servants. (John 2:5 CSB)
Here we have the literal parent of Jesus telling the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. It sounds very much like the famous voice from the cloud stating: "This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to him!" (Luke 9:35 CSB)
Isn't this the entire message of the Bible? To listen to Jesus and do whatever He tells us to do? We all need to come to the conclusion that we are meant to obey God. It's as simple as that. It's expressed countless ways throughout Scripture, but here are two famous quotes from the Old and New Testaments to drive that point home:
Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV)
"If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17 CSB)
Yes, just as Mary said, we should all do whatever Jesus tells us to do.
The reason we all exist is that God is enlarging His family. He is giving human beings the chance to learn the ways that lead to eternal life, doing precisely what He wants. If we refuse to keep His instructions, we will be dead forever:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)
What happened in Cana doesn't stay in Cana. Its meaning echoes through the ages and is meant to be heard by everyone.
Just as the water was transformed in an instant to become the best wine at the wedding feast in Cana, so we will be changed in an instant to become the perfected bride of Christ at the future marriage feast of the Lamb. God's glory will be revealed along with our glory, and that is when life everlasting begins. And it was all foretold through the very first miracle of Jesus. At a wedding in Cana. The end has been declared from the beginning.
Copyright 2018 Joe Kovacs. All rights reserved.
Joe Kovacs is the author of the new book Shocked by the Bible 2, as well as his previous books Shocked by the Bible and The Divine Secret, all on sale in bookstores and Amazon.com. Learn more at www.shockedbythebible.com