Why did Jesus turn water into wine?

John, one of the disciples of Jesus, records this story of a wedding feast in which Jesus turns water into wine:

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. 3 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.”

John 2:1-10

While this appears to be a miracle like the ones recorded in the other books about Jesus’ life, John makes clear that this is not just a neat trick, but rather has a very specific purpose. It is the first of seven signs that John describes to help his readers see that Jesus is God. In verse 11 he clearly states:

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 2:11

For John, sharing his eyewitness account of life with Jesus is all about showing Jesus as divine—the Son of God who was himself God.

As you read the story, you might miss the symbolism. This is not so much about great wine for revelers during a week-long wedding feast. Rather, it’s about how the containers that had been filled with water for making the Jews ceremonially clean were going to be filled with the best wine, a symbol of the blood that Jesus would shed on the cross to provide an eternal cleansing of the filth of sin.

This is the first of seven signs that John writes about so that all will believe that Jesus is the Christ, the savior of mankind.

Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay