Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. – John 2:6
A wedding is one of the most wonderful celebrations a family will ever know. We’ve been there. With three daughters, I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later I’d walk a beautiful bride down the aisle.
The preparations for that day were pretty intense. By the time the big day arrived, I wondered if all the stress over all the details was worth the trouble. But by the end of the day, I realized it had been one of the most important days of our family’s story. There was joy, hope, and a wonderful spirit surrounding the entire event.
And one more thing. Everyone who came to our wedding … was clean.
I know, that’s not even necessary. You knew that, instinctively. There are some events that seem to require that everyone involved be scrubbed and shined, pressed and ruffled, combed, brushed and wrinkle-free.
Weddings are a big deal. When Jesus attended a wedding in Cana, the same principles held true. People did not simply rush in from the fields, from the cattle barn, or from the auto repair shop and take a seat. They prepared.
And even as they arrived for the big event, they washed again.
The famous part of the wedding in John 2 deals with a shortage of wine for the big wedding party. As you certainly know, Jesus turned water into wine and saved the day for a nameless couple.
But did you notice which water he used?
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. – John 2:6
Jesus had the servants fill those jars with water – to the very brim – and it was this water he had turned into wine.
And I’m thinking, all of it? That’s a lot of wine! If you multiply six times 20, or 30, and go somewhere in between the two numbers, that’s more wine than a Baptist preacher will see in his entire life!
John calls the entire event a “sign,” so look at the symbolism.
When people arrived for this wedding, they had washed their hands in these jars. They did so to show God that they were coming to this event with “clean hands and a pure heart,” just as Psalm 24 had instructed them. The water in these jars wasn’t bath water. It was holy water.
In time, Jesus would use wine as a symbol for his blood. Communion is a constant reminder of this for Christians.
Water intended for religious cleansing is turned into wine, which will represent the blood of Jesus, which provides ultimate cleansing.
And the pots? They were stone. Had the family chosen clay pots, the vessels could have been used only once for spiritual cleansing. That was the rule of the day. When it comes to spiritual purposes, stone can be used over and over. Clay vessels can be use for religious purposes only once.
The Bible speaks of our bodies has being “jars of clay,” by the way. You get just one shot at spiritual cleansing, too.
Six huge jars that can be used over and over again for spiritual cleansing? There was enough water in this scene … to cleanse the world!
And one more thing. There were six of the stone jars. Seven has a tradition of being the “perfect” number. So six is one short of “perfection.”
John’s message? Perfection had just walked through the door! Without Jesus, the wedding was in trouble. With Jesus, the day was saved. The wedding was … perfected.
Jesus’ first miracle was an extravagant gift for a nameless couple in the middle of nowhere. The next one could be just as extravagant.
But the next one … might be for you.
Want to travel to Israel with Pastor Andy Cook or connect with his resources for those who can’t make the trip? Check out experienceisraelnow.com.