3 And when they lacked wine, the mother of Jesus said unto Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said unto her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” - John 2:3-4 KJ21

Instead of calling Mary mother, he calls her woman.


4 Answers 4


The answer is found by examining the term “woman” as used by Jesus in this account. Today in many cultures calling ones mother “woman” rather than by her name or a term of endearment like mom or mother is considered harsh, disrespectful and demeaning. That was not the case in Jesus time on earth as can be seen in the following paragraph excerpted from a “Question from Readers” in a Watchtower magazine.

Regarding the term “woman,” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words notes: “Used in addressing a woman, it is a term not of reproof or severity, but of endearment or respect.” Other sources agree with this. For example, The Anchor Bible says: “This is not a rebuke, nor an impolite term, nor an indication of a lack of affection . . . It was Jesus’ normal, polite way of addressing women.” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology explains that the word “is used as an address with no irreverent secondary meaning.” And Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that such usage “is in no way disrespectful or derogatory.” Thus, we should not conclude that Jesus was being rude or unkind to his mother in addressing her by the term “woman.” —Matthew 15:28; Luke 13:12; John 4:21; 19:26; 20:13, 15.

The Jewish idiom “what do I have to do with you” is also explained in this same article.

The take away is that Jesus was firm but loving in his response to Mary. Mary did not feel embarrassed or insulted as can be seen by her reaction which was to instruct the attendants “Whatever he tells you, do.” Further evidence that this was not a contentious moment between Jesus and Mary is the fact that Jesus went on to perform the miracle of turning water into wine.

  • Thanks for following up. Rock on! +1 Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 22:59

Fr. Cornelius à Lapide, S.J., explains it thus, in his commentary on John:

Ver. 4.—And Jesus saith, What is it to Me and to thee, &c. Meaning, What have I to do with thee in this matter? (Quid mihi tecum in hac re est negotii?) Observe, the Blessed Virgin did not out of ostentation, or in an untimely, unbecoming, or indiscreet fashion ask this miracle of her Son, as St. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euthymius think: but out of necessary charity and piety, as SS. Cyril, Bernard, and others say. Therefore there was no blame attaching to her. Therefore Christ did not really blame her. And yet He seems to reprove her, that He might teach, not her, but us, that in things pertaining to God, and miracles, parents have no right or authority. They must not be done in accordance with their affections and desires, but only for God and charity’s sake. The meaning, therefore, is this,

Thou, O Mother, in this matter, art not My Mother, but as it were another woman. For, from thee I have received human nature, not Divinity. It belongs to My Divine nature to work this miracle, not in accordance with thy desires, and those of relations, but in accordance with the will of God My Father. According to that will I shall work, when the hour and time decreed by God shall come.

Hear St. Augustine on this passage:

The word woman is used simply to express the female sex.

Euthymius says:

He, as God, said not ‘Mother,’ but ‘woman.’

St. Bede says:

He means that He had not received in time from His Mother the Divinity by which He was about to perform a miracle, but that He had It eternally from the Father.

The Interlinear Gloss says:

He means to say, “What is there in common between My Divinity and thee My Mother according to the flesh?”

St. Augustine says:

Thou didst not beget, or produce (genuisti) My Divinity, which works the miracle.

St. Chrysostom adds:

He speaks thus, lest the miracle should seem to be the result of collusion. He should have been asked by those who needed the wine, not by His Mother.

Also, Jesus calls her "Woman" (γύναι) in order to identify her with the "Woman" of Genesis 3:15:

I will put enmities between thee and the woman (γυναικός), and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.


Jesus did indeed have DNA of Mary. How do we know he did ? Because, Jesus had to be along the lineage of Adam for him to balance the scales of sin by giving his perfect human life for Adam's. 1st Corinthians 15:45 even shows Jesus was the last Adam for this reason. Jesus was indeed human but, his miracles were preformed only by his Heavenly Father's power or he would not have had ability to do so. He Never called Mary "Mother" but, instead woman to show that she was only the vessel used by his "Heavenly Father" to accomplish this. Mary has no divine power or deity other than her being chosen at the appropriate time to be the woman along Adam's descendants to carry Jesus. Had Jesus "Heavenly Father" not turned his back on Jesus when he was put to death, Jesus would not have died because Almighty God's power cannot die. That is why Jesus knew and cried out " Why have you forsaken me?!" For the first time in his entire existence even since being the first born creation he could feel his Father's power leave him completely.

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    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 13:06

Jesus of Nazareth Yahweh son of Christ the reason why he calls Mary Mary or woman is because he doesn't call her mother because she's not his mother by DNA she was just the best tool that carried him and gave birth to him it's a totally different scenario then if we would have literally had the deity of God himself come down fornicate with Mary but no it was just an egg to put in side of head so therefore they would really be no mother to her because if she was a virgin I very seriously doubt God cared whether or not she can give birth he gave her child that is the reason why he refers to her as mother and Mary my beloved sisters

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