John 2:1-12 Treasure Hunt

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

Treasure Hunt

There are many minor points that intrigue me in this passage, but the point of the passage is clear.  The miracle is a sign.  It is a clue.  We will have a number of miraculous signs which point deeper and deeper into the essence of who Jesus is.  This is not just an academic exercise but a personal and relational journey.  Imagine if you are going to work at a summer camp with someone and the camp canteen starts to run out of orange juice at breakfast on the first day.  Then your new acquaintance takes you through the kitchen and asks you to bring the large water bottles that hold drinking water behind the kitchen.  He asks you to taste the water and it tastes like … water.  Then he touches the water bottles and they change from clear to orange and he asks you to taste it again.  Now imagine the shock when the taste that hits your taste buds is the sweetest fresh-squeezed orange juice you have ever tasted.  Then he tells you to tell the camp director that there are huge amounts of orange-juice out back ready for consumption.  What kind of person would do this and, more importantly, how would you relate to them?

Mary is shown here as knowing that her son is special, but in the synoptic gospels she also comes to deter Jesus when she thinks he has gone too far (perhaps insane).  The disciples do not know the end of the story, where he dies.  They would have seen the abundance and it would have confirmed their ideas that he was the Messiah.  However, their Messiah wasn’t destined to suffer and die, the disciples’ Messiah was meant to flourish and expand.  He would conquer and hand out rewards to them.  Why does your Jesus change water into wine?  Is it because he loves to lavish abundance on his friends?  Is it to show who he is? 


Jesus, why did you change water into wine? You showed us something of who you are.  You were generous.  You were compassionate in that instant.  You saved the hosts from embarrassment.  However, more than that you had control over the elements.  You provided abundance because you are the one through whom everything was created.  We see you as more than the rest of us.  We see you as set apart … holy.


  1. What did Jesus do?
  2. Why?
  3. What was an appropriate response of those who were with Jesus?
  4. Where does this sign point you?
  5. How does the passage challenge other areas in life like interpersonal boundaries, partying, obedience, drinking, the absence of a father?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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23 Responses to John 2:1-12 Treasure Hunt

  1. Karas says:

    What did Jesus do? Jesus performed a miracle. He turned the water into wine. It’s kind of interesting how at first it doesn’t seem like He is going to get involved, but then He does. He is beginning to reveal and validate who He is, while at the same time living out His generous and compassionate character. Those who were with Him would have appropriately responded with awe and wonder and praise. This sign points me to Jesus – His character, His ability to provide, His power… This passage challenges other areas of life because when there was a lack or a need, Christ was able to meet it in an exceptional way. In the same way, in other areas, Christ is able to perform miracles and meet needs in marvelous, glory-deserving ways.

  2. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus performed a miracle by turning jars of water into wine at a wedding when the host had run out of wine.
    2. The obvious answer is that Mary, His mother, had asked Him to. But, this was also Jesus’ first miracle and demonstrated His power over created things.
    3. The disciples believed in Him as the Messiah, though they were probably anticipating a triumphant and revolutionary leader, not a sacrificial lamb.
    4. This might be extending the symbolism of this miracle too far, but I thought that it was interesting that the jars that the servants filled with water were used for the religious rite of purification. The Jews used to wash themselves with water to be “purified,” but we know that our ultimate purification from sin comes only through the blood of Christ – which Jesus compares to wine at the Last Supper. Could this miracle have been a veiled reference to Jesus’ death – how the redemption that comes through His blood is so much better than the Jews’ legalistic practices?
    5. I DO NOT think that this passage is a proof-text for the idea that Christians can drink, party, and even get drunk; narratives are descriptive, but they are not prescriptive. I think that in this story Jesus models compassion and generosity, principles that we can apply to to our relationships with others.

  3. Mary says:

    1. Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana
    2. I am not sure why he changed the water into wine, after he had just told his mother that it was not yet time for them to know who he was, when it was clearly a miracle that no ordinary person could have performed.
    3.The master of the feast is amazed at the quality of the wine and that it was saved until last, highlighting that anything Jesus does he does it above and beyond our expectations.
    4. The sign is meant to show Jesus’ glory, and also how the desires of the people were important to him. I think often we forget that if something is important to us it is important to Christ as well, and that He wants to give us the desires of our hearts, so long as they are in accordance with God’s will.
    5. I don’t know that this passage really challenges those areas…I don’t think that is what this is about. Am I missing something? Also, there are some cultural things going on here that I don’t fully understand: This was the third day of what? Why was Jesus, his mother, and his disciples all invited to this wedding? Who was it for? Was it ok to use the jars for wine that were meant for purification? Why is Jesus’ mom telling the servants what to do? Did the disciples really know who Jesus was after that, because they seemed to need to be reminded time and again. Did anyone else believe because of it? How many reminders do we seem to need???

  4. Kathleen says:

    1. Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding ceremony in Cana.
    2. I believe He does this because the time has come for Him to show the world who He is and demonstrate His power through miracles.
    3. If it was me, I probabluwould have been shocked and a little scared. I wouldn’t know what to think of Jesus. I would be wondering where His power comes from.
    4. For me now, this sign shows God’s power and His compassion on people. He did not want the groom to be embarrassed, nor did He want to disappoint His mother. He used this opportunity as a starting point for many miracles to come.
    5. I’m not sure this passage is addressing these areas. Drinking wine was a normal part of culture during Jesus’s time. I do not think it is an invitation for us to party and drink.

  5. Lacy says:

    1. Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding where the wine had run out.
    2. He did this out of love for his friends and for the embarrassed host, but also to demonstrate his power over the elements.
    3. An appropriate response would be respect, even worship.
    4. This sign points me to Jesus’ control. If he is able to change the elements of nature with a word, he is able to change every situation in my life. Nothing is impossible.
    5. In these difficult situations, the story of Jesus’ changing water into wine is a challenge to trust him. He doesn’t always “change things” in the way that I expect, but he will always come through in the end to both save me and prove his holiness and power.

  6. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) When the wine ran out at the wedding he was attending, he turned water into wine.
    2) He did this to show that He is always in control, He cares about people’s needs and He loves.
    3) An appropriate response would have been gratitude and belief in Him.
    4) This miracle shows me that Jesus cares about His people, and He is compassionate and loving.
    5) I believe that in difficult and challenging times, Jesus is in control of every situation. He has the power to meet any need.

  7. Beth Coale says:

    — What did Jesus do? He performed a miracle, showed His power & concern for people
    –Why? To reveal more of His identity
    –What was an appropriate response of those who were with Jesus? To acknowledge who He was, to obey Him (as Mary had said to do)
    –Where does this sign point you? Christ sometimes does the unexpected – we cannot put Him into a box – He wants to be involved in every part of our lives
    –How does the passage challenge other areas in life like interpersonal boundaries, partying, obedience, drinking, the absence of a father? Christ doesn’t just want to have a say in, He wants to be the Lord of our relationships, free time, how we have fun, what we do when friends are drinking, how we cope with things, & just what we do when circumstances call for a hard choices to be made

  8. Belle says:

    What did Jesus do? He turned water into wine when there was no more wine.
    Why? I was taught in New Testament survey that this was a sign of an ushering of a new kingdom. And when there was an abundance amount of wine in the Old Testament, it was that ushering ceremony.
    What was an appropriate response of those who were with Jesus? A realization that this man is different than any other man and belief should follow.
    Where does this sign point you? To how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament scripture. It always astounds me how much He fulfilled it. And everything in the Old Testament pointed to Christ, I just find that so beautiful.
    How does the passage challenge other areas in life like interpersonal boundaries, partying, obedience, drinking, the absence of a father? I personally do not think so due to the context of the usage of wine.

    -Holly G 🙂

  9. Janice Lee says:

    1. Jesus turned water into wine.
    2. He did this to demonstrate His love for people. He loved Mary, His disciples, the bride and groom, and their guests.
    3. An appropriate response is to worship God.
    4. The sign points me to recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. His blood was the wine poured out for us in the new covenant. Because of His blood shed for us, we are covered in His righteousness.
    5. The passage challenges restrictions of drinking wine. The Bible clearly discourages getting drunk, but here, drinking in celebration is fine. Jesus’ earthly father died, but He obeys God the Father and respects Mary.

  10. zacbodine says:

    What did Jesus do?
    Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. Hedid this to show his power over the elements, provide for the needs of the people, and obey him mom. It is interesting that Mary asks Jesus to do something. He obliges. Why? I’m not sure. I just love the fact that this miracle puts Jesus at odds with the image of Jesus we sometimes make of him. He drank wine (i.e alcohol). He met a need that our evangelical society would question as a need. So what you ran out of the demon drink? Good riddance right? I wonder why Jesus did that and what the implications are for us as ministers of the gospel. Why do I ignore this miracle and why do I feel like Jesus sinned by having the alcohol flow and flow and flow? Jesus did not sin but from my baptist background he may have alcohol is bad right? So many questions. I need to allow myself to be uncomfortable at the text and let God inform me. I need to check myself to because I find it funny when Jesus flips conservative views on its head. That’s just the season I am in this year, I need to give that to God and let him redeem that,

  11. Ashley says:

    1. Jesus turned the water into wine.
    2. He did this to manifest his glory.
    3. The appropriate response to all that Jesus does should be awe, honor, and worship.
    4. This sign points me to remember who Jesus is and that he is not a god who is cheap. He gives freely the best to his children. He withholds nothing good from those who seek him. This is a huge encouragement to me as I admit that there are things I want but don’t have. I learn that God has given me “good wine” and that the satisfaction I seek comes only from him.
    5. This passage challenges several areas such as interpersonal boundaries. Jesus was pressured by his mother to perform a miracle, and he chose to gratify this request for a miracle although he didn’t have to. I don’t think that this passage is in any way condemning partying. In fact if anything, it shows that marriage is such a sacred and special thing, that it deserves to be celebrated well and fully. Drinking is not looked down upon in this passage. Jesus, despite the belief of some Christians, did not make Welch’s grape juice. He made wine and it is even stated that people drunk freely from the old wine. Other places in the Bible refer to getting drunk as a sin because we should allow the Holy Spirit to fill us instead of alcohol. However, nothing is said about drinking in this passage; it is merely illustrated as a normal part of life’s celebrations.

  12. J_Alban says:

    1. Jesus turned the water into wine
    2. To Show His Divinity and Control over elements.
    3. Faith! They believed who He was with.
    4. Jesus as the Messiah
    5. I see faith boundaries being crossed. Jesus did something that the people didn’t even think about as possible. Makes me think of all the things God does for us that ARE impossible. Even the subtle ones that we don’t notice daily.

  13. Nick says:

    In this passage Jesus turned water into wine. The party had run out of wine and His mother asked him to do it. I believe that He did it as a way to provide a glimpse of His glory and power that was soon to be shown more fully. An appropriate response to this would have been to worship Jesus and recognize Him as the Messiah (a little shock might have been warranted too). I think this passage show Jesus as the Son of God. I do not think this passage is a warning against getting drunk like there might be in other parts of the bible. I think it was just a custom of the time and the celebration. I think it was mostly to show Jesus’ power and glory.

  14. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. What did Jesus do?
    He turned the water used for Jewish purification into wine, good wine.
    2. Why?
    I think the fact that the author gives the description of the pots is important. If it wasn’t, why would he include it then? I believe Jesus changed the purification water into wine to show that He is the new covenant. There is no longer a need to purify with water, but rather the blood of Christ, symbolized by the wine.
    3. What was an appropriate response of those who were with Jesus?
    To believe in Him.
    4. Where does this sign point you?
    Toward the effective and eternal redemption and salvation in Jesus Christ.
    5. How does the passage challenge other areas in life like interpersonal boundaries, partying, obedience, drinking, the absence of a father?
    It shows us that fun, such as having a party or a drink is not forbidden and restricted by Christianity. It also shows Jewish culture.

  15. 1. After being requested by His mother to turn water into wine after the wedding supply ran out, Jesus turned close to 180 gallons of water in wine.
    2. He did it to manifest His glory.
    3. His disciples believed in Him.
    4. I am reminded of His humility and self-control, He is shrewd about how and when He manifests His glory and when to not act.
    5. I am challenged to push back on my boundaries of fear and be more perceptive and witty about the ways in which I will take opportunities to represent and witness about my Lord.

  16. Rachel says:

    Jesus provided a small glimpse into who he really was when he turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana. He not only saved the hosts from humiliation, he honored his mother in front of the crowds. Those who were around him were astonished and could have announced to everyone what Jesus had done, instead, they remain quiet, and the host of the party is given the credit for saving his best wine for last. Jesus does not demand recognition; I’m sure the servants and disciples took note of this!

    This sign points me to Christ’s humble giving of that which I most need. He knows my needs; he is aware of my situations. He is more than capable of giving me true life in himself. This passage strikes me as a surprisingly human moment of Christ’s life on Earth. He lived and maneuvered through the social situations and complications that every person deals with. His humanity makes him that much more able to sympathize with my human weakness. He challenges my simple thoughts about drinking, partying, and getting credit for my actions. His is true humility, true love, and the true life.

  17. nataliaria says:

    In this passage, Jesus performs his first miracle, which is to turn water into wine. The practical reasons for which he accomplished this miracle were to supply the wedding host with wine, because what had been available had run out. I believe that Jesus also uses the lack of wine as an opportunity to provide His disciples with a deeper glimpse into His divinity and power; to “manifest His glory.”

    The text says that His disciples, seeing what He had done, “believed in Him,” which I believe to be a very appropriate response to having just witnesses such a miracle, especially when paired with previous statements made by John and others that He is the Messiah.

    As was mentioned above, this sign certainly emphasizes to me Jesus’ involvement in the details of our lives, and the way in which He reaches out to invest Himself in the everyday parts of our existence. It points me to compare His majesty and glory, as demonstrated by the miracle itself, and His kindness and caring, as demonstrated by the reason for the miracle, and marvel in awe that such a great God would care so much about things as small as me.

  18. Michael Huber says:

    The miracle tells me that Christ is the God of all circumstances. As the author of history he can make each moment exactly as he pleases it. This raises a lot of questions for the allowance of evil but as a Christian it creates a deep sort of trust in Christ no matter the circumstnaces.

  19. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1) Jesus performed a miracle at the wedding by changing the water into wine that they needed.
    2) To show more of who he was to the people around him.
    3) Appropriate? Who knows the correct answer to that, I think in that moment emotions and amazement would take over…maybe appropriateness would be to see yourself as absolute nothingness compared to God’s immaculate power…however way that could be displayed.
    4) It points you to Christ and His glory
    5) Doing what the world thinks to be right or even what some Christians believe to be right might not be what God considers right. This is kind of a strange concept and question to me but I think when the Lord is present in a place and he sees the hearts of those around him and commands and performs miracles he knows all that will happen at that moment in time…and it was worth celebrating.

  20. Amy McCashen says:

    1. Changed the water to wine
    2. To save the master from embarrassment and to show his compassion.
    3. Awe and wonder and gratefulness for what he had done.
    4. It points us in the direction of Jesus as the Messiah.
    5. I do not think that this passage really addresses those issues. I think sometimes Christians try to pull more from a passage than is really there.

  21. Austin Brose says:

    What did Jesus do?
    What was an appropriate response of those who were with Jesus?
    Where does this sign point you?
    How does the passage challenge other areas in life like interpersonal boundaries, partying, obedience, drinking, the absence of a father?

    Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding by turning water into wine. He did this to open up the peoples minds to his power, though he does not flaunt it. An appropriate response would have been complete astonishment and awe, which would then result in worship. The sign points
    me to the humility of Christ, even though he possesses such great power, he does it to point those to follow God, not for selfish reasons. Honestly, God is not a party pooper. He wants people to have a good time and to be happy, so that may have been a reason why he did that miracle. This does not mean that we can overstep the bounds of drunkenness and idolatry though.

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