John 2: 9, 10

Now when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter *called the groom, and *said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the guests are drunk, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Does Jesus condone drunkenness at the Cana wedding?

3 Answers 3


This is a similar question: What did “the good wine” (τὸν καλὸν οἶνον) mean in John 2:10?

Basically good wine meant good tasting, not necessarily high alcohol content. Not so good wine was wine turning toward vinegar. The comments in the above link mention if the alcohol content in wine got too high, they watered it down; probably not good tasting. Thus, good tasting wine probably still has enough sugar content left to taste good. Their use of wine wasn't oriented toward getting drunk, but somewhat toward sanitation.


The word μεθυσθῶσιν conveys the idea that "they might have drunk freely." Providing "good" wine (τὸν καλὸν οἶνον) toward the end of a wedding festival, lasting several days, is not what one would expect.

One's typical ability to determine "good" wine from average wine would be severely limited after freely drinking. That is because one's senses would be dulled in a process called palate fatigue. It would take a truly mind blowing wine, made with the depth and complexity of an orchestra of flavors to taste "good" in the middle of a wedding festival lasting for an entire week.

The magazine Wine Spectator describes palate fatigue in the following manner:

The term “palate fatigue” is typically used in large wine tasting scenarios, in which, after tasting many different wines, they all start to taste the same due to both the physical and mental exhaustion of concentrating on how wine tastes. There are physical parts of palate fatigue, including the consumption of alcohol, which is absorbed in small amounts through the palate even if a taster is spitting; the molecules of wine binding to the tongue’s sensory papillae can also desensitize taste buds after extended tasting.

The other answer to this question involves determining the size of the wedding that took place, in conjunction with the four remaining days left for a typical wedding week of seven days to conclude. For a discussion of this specific question, see this post.

An analysis of how much wine was made, will yield an approximate total of 180 gallons. That's the modern equivalent of 900 bottles. Since the miracle took place on the third day, a total of four days would be left to consume the wine. If you do the math, it appears that rationing out all the miracle wine would yield the equivalent of just 225 bottles a day to be served.

If the whole village of Cana was invited, along with friends and family from a distance, the gathering could have easily been up to a 1,000 people. But even with half that number (e.g. 500 people), that's not enough for any one to get drunk. In reality it would only just be enough to have the equivalent of each adult having just a couple of glasses or so each evening during dinner. If any more wine was consumed, with that amount of people, they would have likely needed to acquire extra wine from other places - like going on a 2 hour walking trek down to Sepphoris.

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    +1 - The only answer to negate the endorsement of drunkenness while plausibly addressing the "the guests are drunk" language,
    – Austin
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 1:50

Not drunkenness, of course, because drunkenness can lead to debauching and lust (Ephesians 5:18), but He not only condones but also blesses drinking of wine for such joyful occasions as celebration of marriage! He condones and invites to only eternal drunkenness by the new wine of His infinite love in His Kingdom, to the effect that no sober will be allowed in there (cf. Matthew 26:29).

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