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Jesus's first miracle

John 2 When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus’ mother told him, “They’re just about out of wine”...Jesus ordered the servants, “Fill the pots with water”...Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host.

What we get here is there was still some wine left, just not enough, so in order to serve more, Jesus used water. We don't know whether the nature of water actually turned into wine or the water carried his power into those who drank it, caused them an illusion thinking the water was wine.

Now compare to former prophets:

1 Kings 17 Elijah The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty

2 Kings 4 Elisha Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside

They did not need to fill the oil jars with water first and then turn the water into oil, rather, the power used at that time created infinite oil.

So clearly, causing the wine container to pour out infinite wine is within God's power, there is no need to use water as an medium. So what is the significance of using water in Jesus's first miracle?

  • Kool aid powder – Kris May 21 at 16:38
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To give the context of turning the water into wine, John gives seven signs witnessing that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus said the meaning of three of the signs (4, 6, and 7). The seven signs exceed the prophets.

  1. Turning the water into wine (John 2:1-12)

  2. Healing the royal official's son (John 4:46-54)

  3. Healing the paralytic at the Bethesda pool (John 5:1-17) - - “an invalid for thirty-eight years” (5:5)

  4. Feeding the five thousand (John 6:1-14) – “I am the bread of life” (6:35)

  5. Walking on water (John 6:15-25)

  6. Healing the man born blind (John 9:1-41) - I am the light of the world” (9:5) – “Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.” (9:32)

  7. Raising Lazarus (John 11:1-46) – “I am the resurrection and the life” {11:25) – Lazarus was dead for four days (11:17) the Jews viewed raising someone after three days impossible.

The Gospel of John has many references to the Pentateuch (the Torah); Ἐν ἀρχῇ (in the beginning, John 1:1 matches Genesis 1:1 LXX). Exodus has the ten plagues that showed the superiority of God to the gods of Egypt. The first plague was turning the water into blood. Jesus used wine to represent his blood. Thus, John appears to point out this parallel to the first plague. Jesus’ blood is our atonement; thus the miracle took place in the jars for ritual purification.

Often in John, Jesus symbolized the Holy Spirit with water:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37–39, ESV)

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    Good observation! I always like how the way things link up together between the old and new testaments. Thank you for pointing out this connection! So you think the purpose of Jesus's first miracle was not to serve more wine to guests, but to symbolise Jesus's blood (wine) is for purification? – Gold Experience May 22 at 1:56
  • In much of the Gospel of John, Jesus uses common earthly things to explain the heavenly. So, both meanings apply. The reason to Mary was the first, but Jesus arranged the miracle to also show the second. – Perry Webb May 22 at 2:03
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We feel that wine is wine through our sense perception/organs of senses: taste, colour, smell, touch, the dizziness it creates (I guess, I have numbered all of them, or almost all of them). Now, there is not a logical impossibility that there is no actual wine and God incites our sense perception organs so, that we feel 100% that we are drinking wine and getting dizzy, and all those feelings are 100% the same and this inebriation influences our health in absolutely the same way if we had drunk an actual wine. Then there will be no difference whatsoever in drinking actual wine and in having an absolutely same perception while God giving us an impression of drinking wine. In fact, even drinking actual wine produces in us an impression and influences our health, and if God-given impression (albeit without actual wine) produces the same impression and influences our health in the same way, there is no difference whatsoever, and it will be absolutely impossible for us to take ourselves out of our skins and see the difference, for we do not have any supra-senses/transcendent-senses to observe our senses as it were from outside, but all we get are senses we get.

However, God cannot do this to us, as Descartes has proven very well in his 4th meditation, because, He is not a deceiver, and if we have such a strong inclination to believe that the outer world influencing our senses exist, then (given that God is not a deceiver and it is He who gave us our senses), this world really exists out there. Taken into a consideration this general principle and taking into consideration that Jesus being God cannot deceive, then He did not influence sensual organs of people directly, without real presence of real wine, but truly gave them wine, which He miraculously produced out of water.

Having established that, we can hazard whatever pious interpretation of why did He use water and what symbolic-metaphoric-educational significance did He put there. I will provide just one such interpretation, for an example and a template, but far better and more spiritual and paradoxical interpretations, of course, are infinitely possible:

six jars were destined not for wine but for water used in ritual of cleansing (John 2:6), and Jesus shows by the miracle that the maximum degree of cleansing available in Jewish tradition before Him was not enough to infect humans with divine grace and make them crazy, make them inebriated by the divine madness of New Commandment "be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48) in order to "love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12). The cleansing by water signified a possibility of leading a virtuous life within human terms and capacities, the wine into which this water turned, thus, signified inadequacy and insufficiency of this virtuous life with reference to divine life, which seems a crazed type of life for all, who don't accept Christ as God and Saviour and are not led by Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14).

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  • I like how you try to explain the equivalence between real and perception, fun read! – Gold Experience May 22 at 2:00
  • Thanks dear Gold for reading and estimating! Philosophy is fun, even the funniest thing available for humans, as Thomas Aquinas once said:) – Levan Gigineishvili May 22 at 7:37
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Simple instructions are given by Mary – “Whatever he says to you, do it.” Jesus has them fill six stone water pots (a total volume of about 150 gals) to the brim with water. This belays the possibility of any other ingredients being added. The only ingredient for the miracle is water and the only antecedent is Jesus himself.

As soon as the jars are filled with water, he orders the servants to draw some out and take it to the headwaiter. The results was better wine than had been served before.

What was so extraordinary about this miracle?

  1. The necessary material antecedents for the making of wine were not present. This collapses the cause and effect between natural antecedents and the outcome. Wine is not the natural result of filling jars with water. This does not produce wine. Although the water is a necessary component in wine, the water itself is not causal. He could have just as easily done this with empty jars. What this means is that all miracles displace natural causation.

  2. This miracle demonstrated the principle of true spontaneity. True spontaneity is not possible in the natural world. Our concept of spontaneity requires time, and cause and effect that is the result of natural processes. There is no natural cause and effect in this transmutation of water into wine. Jesus had no contact with either the jars nor the water. There is no command given to facilitate the change; in fact, there are no words spoken at all. It is done.

  3. This miracle represents Jesus' authority over time, space, and processes. Time is rendered a non-factor. It takes time to produce wine. The grapes have to be gathered. They must then be put in a press and the juices must then be collected and strained. This process has been circumvented. This is the nature of all miracles. Miracles circumvent time and natural processes.

  4. This miracle also reveals a depth of knowledge that was beyond the capability of man at that time. He understood molecular constructs and how to change that construct.

  5. This miracle demonstrates Jesus' unlimited reach of power over the natural world. This represents a total reconstruct of the basic elements. Molecules are being reorganized. He is reorganizing mater at its most basic level. If he can reach into the molecular word and reorganize mater at the molecular level what then could he not do?

  6. This miracle is NOT just something simple as a first attempt to see how he does. The implications of this miracle are profound. If he can reconstruct water molecules into wine, then he can also cause putrefaction within a corpse to reorganize it into healthy tissue. He can cause a decaying brain to produce neuron synapses and motor neurons to once again carry signals from the spinal cord to the muscles and produce movement. In other words, he can raise someone from the dead. It takes no more power to do one than the other. This miracle establishes the foundation upon which all other miracle were performed. All miracles are designed to challenge man's concept of reality. If he can trans-mutate water into wine, what can he not do?

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  • Thank you! I can see some good explanation about the water turning into wine miracle, I understand how God is capable to do all that. I am more interested to know more why it was done in that way (filled with water instead of just let the initial wine container runs indefinitely). – Gold Experience May 22 at 1:46
  • If you are wanting to know why Jesus used water as opposed to something else or even nothing at all, which he could have just as easily done, I am afraid the text offers is no explanation for that. The text offers no hint of symbolism associated with the water. Any reason we might speculate on would be nothing more than speculation without substance. – oldhermit May 22 at 1:56

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