Articles for Edification

3 Reasons Jesus First Turned Water into Wine

This is a picture of a man filling stone pots with water from another vessel to represent the time Jesus turned water into wine.

John is my absolute favorite book in the Bible. I read sequentially, so every time it comes around again I get excited. This week, I was in John Chapter 2 when a question popped into my mind I had never considered before. “Why was turning water into wine Jesus’ first miracle?” I didn’t know right away, but over the course of the next few days through prayer and study, I believe that the Lord showed me three things that this miracle demonstrates about how Jesus’ earthly ministry would impact the world from that moment.

1. It demonstrates a fundamental change.

Jesus made wine, not tea. He didn’t add something to the water to make it better. He fundamentally changed the chemical makeup of it from H20 to C2H6O. 

Jesus didn’t come to live and die so that we could add grace to the law. He came to fulfill the law. Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” 

He also didn’t come to make sinful man better. He came to completely remake him into something else. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And in John 3:3, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2. It demonstrates the New Covenant of Grace.

In the Old Testament, Moses was a type of a “savior” under the Law. In his first public miracle, he changed water into blood in vengeance on the Egyptians who wouldn’t submit to God and allow the Jewish people to leave Egypt. Moses released plagues, destruction, and death as signs from God. Later, God would give the Old Covenant written on tablets of stone as a ministration of sin, condemnation, and death (2 Corinthians 3:7-9). 

Jesus, on the other hand, changed water into wine at the marriage in Cana on the third day. This is a symbol of the divine grace He would bring at His resurrection. His earthly ministry brought healings, blessings, and life. And the New Covenant by the Spirit was to be written on men’s hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). It was a ministration of righteousness in abundance (2 Corinthians 3:7-9). The letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive (2 Corinthians 3:6). Hebrews 8:6 says, “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

Also, what Jesus started with wine, He ended with wine. One of the very last things He did before His crucifixion was to give His disciples the first Holy Communion (or Lord’s Supper). He broke the bread to represent His body that would be broken for us and gave them wine that would represent His blood that He would shed in grace for our sins. 

3. It demonstrates the relationship between servant and Master, works and faith.

On a practical level, the whole scenario is extremely instructive. The action begins when His mother, Mary, gives the best advice ever for servants of God. “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” 

Jesus commanded the servants to fill the waterpots with water. They probably thought it was a strange command. After all, the stone waterpots were there for washing, not for drinking. To the natural mind, they might have thought their energies would have been better spent canvassing the neighborhood for additional bottles of wine. But not only did these servants obey the command, they obeyed with zeal. They filled the water to the brim. Then Jesus told them to draw some out and take it to the ruler of the feast who pronounced the wine Jesus made to be better than the wine they started with.

Jesus, for His part, could have made wine from nothing without any help from people at all, but He didn’t do that. He commanded the servants to do a job that was work. Imagine carrying heavy stone pots to the water source and back again. The servants obeyed without question and served Him to the fullest in faith that their efforts would be rewarded – and they were. But no matter how much water or how much effort those servants put in that day, the water would still just have been water without a miracle of God. When they saw the water that had become wine, they were not only witnesses, but they were a part of it. They had powerful firsthand testimonies that no one could take away from them.

In the same way, the work we do for Jesus must come at His command. We must do it to the fullest of our capacity, and we must then watch in faith and expectation that after His command comes His blessings. Finally, we must testify… Click To Tweet

Jesus Turned Water into Wine

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

John 21:25

In His short time of ministry on earth, Jesus performed many miracles of healing, deliverance, nature, and provision. It is significant, however, that His first miracle was turning water into wine. On a symbolic level, it demonstrates key concepts about His earthly ministry and the culmination of it. First, it revealed the power of God to change the very nature of things. Next, it symbolized the New Covenant of Grace that would replace the Old Covenant of Law. And last, it gave a solid lesson about the relationship between servant and Master, works and faith. Nothing the Lord does is haphazard. Everything has a purpose in His plan. And just as He said “hello” and “goodbye” to His earthly ministry with wine, Matthew 26:29 says that His farewell will not be forever. One day He will return, and we will drink wine new with Him in His kingdom.

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4 thoughts on “3 Reasons Jesus First Turned Water into Wine”

  1. “The servants obeyed without question and served Him to the fullest in faith that their efforts would be rewarded – and they were.”

    This is a key point you bring out here Angela. And a major part of walking with Jesus, when all signs around you say it’s not mounting to “a hill of beans”.

    And to think they (as you write) were partakers of the miracle working in darkness right in their hands.

    ‘Earthen vessels”, “out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water”, & being “born of the Spirit” all come to mind. Yes, Jesus was and is life’s greatest game changer – water into wine. Great thoughts!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments that are always so encouraging and thought-provoking. I didn’t even put together “earthen vessels” and “living water.” There are so many levels and layers to the Bible. I love it!

  2. Very nice. One thing I have a question about. Why do you assume that the servants carried the stone waterpots to the water source and back. I always thought these pots were very large and heavy. Like at least 4 ft tall and over 100 lbs empty.

    1. Good point, but if you look at the “reenactment” picture I found on Free Bible Images, the containers they were carrying probably weren’t light either. Thanks for your comment. God bless you!

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