On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
I have heard a lot of metaphors over the years that can be drawn from this story. I think people feel that there must be more to this story, because as miracles go it isn’t exactly life-changing. Nobody had any particular need of wine. But I think that’s exactly what makes this story interesting. I mean, it’s Jesus’s FIRST miracle, and that right there is something. But to me this story makes Jesus seem profoundly human. He did such a big thing for no other reason than to make the party last for longer.
But I think the metaphors are still relevant. The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is full of stories that have a message at surface level, yet also reflect (or are even allegorical to!) the Gospel message. Jonah is a great example. So even though this story works in the overall narrative as Jesus’s first miracle, the moment when the disciples believed, it also has a deeper meaning. And I think the author intentionally does this with many stories in John.
To me the most relevant and exciting metaphor is in verse 10. “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” You would expect to do your best living in this world and for everything after to be kind of … bleh. Think the Greek afterlife. But God saved the best for last. After we are done on earth we will spend eternity in God’s Kingdom. And it’s going to be awesome. Like the best wine you’ve ever tasted, but better.