6 stone jars, 120 gallons of wine, and an extraordinary wedding in Cana
Table of Contents
The Wedding in Cana
If you are familiar with the Scriptures, you probably know about a now-famous wedding that took place in a place called Cana, in the Galilee.
*Spoiler alert* the LORD Yeshua (Jesus) turned water into wine that day!
Surely, you already knew that . . . but,
Have you ever thought about the mechanics of this miracle?
Let’s look to John’s account of the Wedding in Cana:
On the third day, there was a wedding at Cana in the Galilee. Yeshua’s mother was there, and Yeshua and His disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, Yeshua’s mother said to Him, “They don’t have any wine!”
Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with you and Me? My hour hasn’t come yet.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Now there were six stone jars, used for the Jewish ritual of purification, each holding two to three measures. Yeshua said to them, “Fill the jars with water!” So they filled them up to the top. Then He said to them, “Take some water out, and give it to the headwaiter.” And they brought it.
Now the headwaiter did not know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. As the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, he calls the bridegroom and says to him, “Everyone brings out the good wine first, and whenever they are drunk, then the worse. But you’ve reserved the good wine until now!” Yeshua did this, the first of the signs, in Cana of the Galilee—He revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.John 2:1-11 TLV
Let’s focus specifically on John 2:6 for a moment. He writes of the wedding in Cana:
“Now there were 6 stone jars, used for the Jewish ritual of purification, each holding 2-3 measures.”
A measure is about 9 gallons according to the Tree of Life Version of the Bible.
So there would be 18-27 gallons to work with per container —
roughly 120 gallons of water altogether —
that would be transformed into the highest quality of wine ever tasted.
Back to the jars. In the Bible, numbers generally have symbolic meanings. 7 indicates perfection, completeness, wholeness, holiness, salvation.
777=Messiah. Contrast that to three consecutive 6’s and you’ll get the idea.
6 indicates incompleteness, insufficiency, “almost-but-not-good-enough.”
So if there were 6 jars at the wedding in Cana, we know they were okay. They were good, but not great; useful, but not the perfect solution.
Likewise, the Jewish purification ritual was good. A pattern of that which would be to come, but not the end-all. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just wasn’t quite enough.
It isn’t enough to just go through religious motions.
Just like it isn’t enough to have your name highlighted as the top contributor to a ministry.
And it isn’t enough to walk down to an altar, confess your faith in the Savior of the world, and then go on living as though that never happened.
It also wouldn’t have been enough of a celebration at the wedding in Cana without a little wine!
I know, I know, you might want to start throwing stones at me. Look, the Bible doesn’t always fit neatly into personal preferences or cultural attitudes. We must conform our personal preferences to what the Bible actually says.
Having a glass of wine was not considered a sin in Galilee.
Drunkenness = sin. A glass of wine = not a sin.[That said, a person who does not have self-control or has a history of addiction, that person should not consume alcohol. Also, certain fellowships choose to abstain from alcohol completely, so you should consult your pastor regarding this topic.]
Back to the wedding. Yeshua’s mother Miryam (Mary) didn’t want the soon-to-be-married couple to be embarrassed by a wine shortage. Though Yeshua said it was not His hour, Miryam told the servants to do whatever He said, and when He did, it was the first of His miracles on earth.
At the Wedding in Cana, Yeshua (Jesus) blessed the bridegroom and his family.
The LORD didn’t consternate them for not having enough wine nor lecture them about how washing their hands in a ceremonial fashion couldn’t give them the fullness of the salvation they longed for. He chose to perform the first miracle of his ministry in that place and allow the bridegroom to receive the accolades:
“The headwaiter says to the bridegroom, ‘Everyone brings out the good wine first, and whenever they are drunk, then the worse. But you’ve reserved the good wine until now!'” John 2:10
Whenever you are in a ministry position, look for ways to credit others instead of focusing on yourself like our LORD did at this event.
Those 6 jars were awaiting a touch from the Potter’s hand.
Made complete by the presence of the Vinedresser, the 6 jars contained within them the power to demonstrate the total other-ness of Rabbi Jesus. Eyes were being opened to the reality that the miracle-working, supernatural power of God was being poured out, right there, that day in little Cana.
The Hebrew Scriptures foretell of a day when the mountains will drip with new wine (Joel 3:18 NKJV; 4:18 TLV). At the feast of Shavu’ot (Pentecost), there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) which resulted in people mocking the disciples and suggesting they were drunk on “new wine.” (Acts 2:13). The wedding in Cana proved that something new was about to happen.
Remember, there will always be scoffers. There will always be somebody somewhere who makes fun of you, doesn’t like you, thinks you’re just crazy, or is too bound up in their own religious ideas to credit you as living rightly for God.
Listen, if you’ve got what He has for you, does the opinion of the crowd really matter?
When the LORD Most High decided to pour out His Holy Spirit and Presence upon the gathered believers, how many were present? Acts 1:15 says there were . . . 120.
Hallelujah! (The Ruach/Spirit is given without measure. John 3:34 assures us there is no limit to His gift). When a person is filled with Ruach haKodesh, the Holy Spirit, they get more than a gallon. Don’t worry, this isn’t a gas station. You will get more than you came for.
The wedding in Cana foreshadows the glorious reality of Pentecost! The unlimited outpouring of His precious Holy Spirit!
These same believers in the time of the book of Acts had seen the miracles of their Messiah, followed Him, even witnessed Him being killed and resurrected. The wedding in Cana was now a foreshadowing of the return of the Bridegroom to celebrate with His own, holding no good thing back.
Knowing now what you have learned about the wedding in Cana and the fulfillment at Shavu’ot/Pentecost, ask yourself a few questions:
What is it that is incomplete in your life?
Is your relationship with your Creator as close as it could be?
Do you need a dose of something new and fresh and joyful?
Do you still listen to the critics?
Are you well-attuned to the voice of the Master, the One who came that you might have life, and life abundantly?
Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
Whatever isn’t enough, may it become more than enough in Him.
May you be surprised by His generosity, overwhelmed by His thoughtfulness, and embraced by His unending love, the love He showed at the Wedding in Cana.
10 thoughts on “6 stone jars, 120 gallons of wine, and an extraordinary wedding in Cana”
Love your teaching articles! There is always something new to learn and to deepen the knowledge of God’s word. Blessings to you!
The Word of God truly is powerful. I never tire of studying His Word because there is indeed always something new to learn!
Thank you for taking us through the miracle at Cana. It’s so true. His grace to us overflows. His goodness, love and mercy are neverending. Praise the Lord for his many gifts that are always more than enough!
Amen to that – praise the LORD for His many gifts that truly are always more than enough! It is amazing how our LORD shows us His overflowing grace in every detail of His life and ministry!
I loved this!! And the title really drew me in. There is so much greatness in the miracle of the wine. I’m thankful that God always gives us the best … 💗 Thank you!!
He truly does give us the best! Thank you so much for your feedback! 🙂
Such interesting points you make here! It’s fascinating the correlation between the 120 gallons and the 120 as noted in Acts! Thanks for sharing this!
It truly is fascinating! He has had it planned out all along that we may be filled with His Spirit! What a precious gift! 🙂