Reflecting on John 2: 1-11
Some scholars say that the secret to the story of the wedding feast of Cana lies in those mysterious six stone water jars. What on earth are six huge jars, holding twenty to thirty gallons of water, doing outside a tiny house in tiny Cana of Galilee? The only appropriate courtyard for such massive jars would have been―of course! ―the Temple in Jerusalem.
The first century Jewish reader would smile in profound recognition. Brilliant! John has transported the very stone jars that once stood outside the Temple, the Temple which, by the time this late gospel was written, had been brutally destroyed by the Roman army, and transported them to tiny Cana where Jesus, his mother, and their friends are all celebrating a joyous wedding.
They have no wine, said Mary to Jesus. Might that be symbolic language for “all the things we held dear as faithful Jews have been destroyed”?
After a brief skirmish with his mother, which of course he doesn’t win, Jesus directs the servers to fill those (symbolic) jars with water. If we take this story literally (which I suspect would disappoint John the Evangelist deeply) we have to wonder how long it would take―and how many trips to the well it would involve― to pour one hundred and twenty gallons of water into those jars.
The very shape of this wondrous story suggests that this deeply symbolic account of a neighborhood wedding is meant to tell us one thing: Jesus is the new Temple, Jesus is the new wine, Jesus is everything we had longed for and thought we had lost.
It’s that simple. Thank you, Blessed Mother! Now go and do whatever he tells you.
What things that you once held dear have you put aside in order to follow Jesus?
Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015