Water to Wine – The First Sign of Jesus – John 2, by Ty Tamasaka

Water to Wine – The First Sign of Jesus – John 2


“2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman,[l] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[m]

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.”  John 2:1-12 NIV

I’ve used this text and preached messages before about this being the first miracle of Jesus.  I’ve preached that Jesus turning water to wine revealed He was at the wedding to have a fun with people He loved and cared for.  I’ve preached that this passage shows He cares for His people and didn’t want the couple to be embarrassed.  I’ve shared that from this text, we can see how Jesus cared for the small details of their life.  While it is comforting to know that Jesus was welcome among those having a good time, this is not the driving force of the passage.

While those are great thoughts, I’ve been learning lately that there is a deeper meaning to be discovered in the first sign of Jesus.

1 – Jesus performed this sign with the cooperation of men.  (verse 7)

There are times we think that God should fix the problems of the world.  He could stop world hunger.  He could eliminate disease.  He could protect His people from persecution.

We see from this sign, God works with the cooperation of men.  He solves the problems of this world by partnering with men and women of faith who have the courage to risk stepping out in bold and often scary obedience.

2 – The servants did not perform the sign, but because of their obedience, they shared in the joy of it.  (verses 8-9)

It’s important to recognize that while the water turned to wine, it was not the servants who performed the sign… although they were blessed to enjoy the results of the sign.  The One who performed the sign was the Holy Spirit.

When God does great works, we should be careful not to credit the servants for the work of God.  It is God to honor the servants, but we must recognize that Jesus is the   

3 – Only the obedient recognized the sign. (verse 9)

There are times when God does great things among us.  If we are not obedient to Jesus, God will still do great things, but we may not be able to recognize it.  We will explore this more in the next devotion.

4 – This event was NOT Jesus’ first miracle.  It was the first of the signs.  (verse 11) 

This is a very easily overlooked part of the Gospel of John.  We seen the miracles of Jesus in the other three Gospels, but John concerns himself more with showing the signs of Jesus.  Let’s identify the difference.


  • Miracle – A supernatural intervention of God in the affairs of man.
  • Sign – The purpose of a sign is to reveal or point to something and to elicit a response.  The signs of Jesus (as told in John) were to reveal Jesus as the Messiah and challenge readers to respond to it.

Signs are to reveal something.  What are traffic signs intended to do?  They are there to help you recognize how to drive up ahead and to present or reveal something to you.  It is significant to recognize that in the Gospel of John, the Apostle is concerned about Jesus’ signs unveiling Him as Messiah.  As such, the works Jesus performed are revealed as specific signs to reveal something.

Moses’ first sign was turning the water into blood.  This represented how the Law resulted in death (Exodus 7:17-21).    

Jesus first sign was turning of water to wine – which was a sign of gladness, joy, life, and celebration of this new work.  It also represented the coming of Messiah.  To the Jewish mind, weddings were a symbol of love and joy and the supply of wine represented celebration and the coming of the Messianic age.  This is reflected from John 1:17.   

Here’s a passage from the Prophet Amos which shows the Jewish thought toward new wine.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
14     and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.[

“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.”  Amos 9:13-15 NIV

The water is like the relationship with God under the Old Covenant and the wine was like the relationship with God under the New Covenant.


– The wine was after the water, as the New Covenant is after the Old Covenant.

– The wine was from the water, as the New Covenant is from the Old Covenant

– The wine was and better than the water; as the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant.

As we read through the Gospel of John, we should recognize the focus is not on the miracles Jesus performed.  John gives attention to the signs He performed.  The purpose of the signs in John was done so that Jesus would be unveiled as Messiah to His people.  Another key about signs are that they demand a response.  When we encounter signs we are forced to respond.  Either we will pay attention to it and heed it in our lives, or we will ignore and reject it.    

Open my eyes and ears Lord to the signs in the Gospel of John, so I could respond well to You and Your Lordship.  In the awesome name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry  He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.    

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