Spreading the Joy


John 2:7–11 (NIV)

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 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.”

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.


Here we have an account of Jesus’s first miracle. For me at least, it is also his most confounding. I have heard a few decent explanations that may well be valid. My favorite take is that this sign was in fact Jesus’s first healing, and a mass healing at that. The logic behind this perspective is that the water would have otherwise been undrinkable—that the bacteria-laden water of that time would have sickened the wedding guests had Jesus not turned it into wine. I have preached that one myself, but I’m honestly not totally convinced that it’s a thing. Plus, I have to swallow my pride and acknowledge that Jesus was not as tee-totaling as myself and that he may not have shared my negative bias toward alcoholic beverages.

Psalm 104 is a deeply inspiring hymn to the Creator, praising him for the wonder of his innumerable works. And right there in verse 15, the psalmist praises the Lord for bringing forth wine “that gladdens human hearts.” In the Bible, wine stands as a versatile symbol, and it is sometimes used as a symbol of joy. Whether or not wine brings joy is beyond the scope of my experience, but I do know that Jesus liked to spread the joy. And, as long as folks weren’t trying to attain joy at the expense of someone else’s joy, Jesus himself was a joyful person.

On my refrigerator, I have a picture of the Laughing Jesus. The expression on his face reveals a deeply seated joy that has spontaneously sprung to the surface . . . a joy that employs the entire face in an urgent attempt to express itself. Jesus was full of joy. It was a joy that was rooted in his knowledge of the Father. He had submerged himself in his Father’s kindness and he had come up laughing. Joy filled him to the point of overflowing and spilled onto everyone who came close to him—unless they were allergic. So I guess it wasn’t about preventing dysentery any more than it was about advocating public drunkenness. It was about what it is always about; Jesus manifesting himself as God’s Spirit-filled emissary, come to save us from sin and from sadness.


Giver of life and light, make us radiant with joy. Heal us at the root so that we can celebrate from the depths of our being.


When was the last time that you felt the medicinal effects of laughter? Does your understanding of the gospel give you freedom to celebrate?

For the Awakening,
Josh LeRoy

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Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. Since no one has the patent on the reason that Jesus chose the wedding at Canaan to change water into wine, I’d like to throw in my two cents. I believe it was symbolic of the “New Wine” that He had come to bring. That “New Wine” contained the Joy that comes from living one’s life in obedience to God’s will and purpose. As Jesus would later make known in a parable; the old wine skin of the Old Covenant could not contain it. Some of the impotence of today’s institutionalized religious organization aka. the church is due to the regression back into some of the practices of the old wine skin.

  2. The challenge with “wine” or any other mind mood-altering drug is that we can easily replace Jesus with them. They become our go-to when we want to have a good time, party, feel depressed, take the edge off, or celebrate an accomplishment.
    What can they offer that Jesus doesn’t?
    Certainly, not true joy.

    Galatians 5:22-23
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

    Ministering in a rehab facility, I have witnessed too many lives and families destroyed because of alcohol and drugs. They are the devil’s schemes to self-medicate or to give false security. They kill, steal, and destroy spiritually and physically.
    Why was changing water into wine Jesus’ first miracle?
    Honoring His mother’s request?
    Helping a family save face?
    I don’t know. And it’s definitely not my place to question Jesus’ motive.
    But this I know: Jesus didn’t say, “If life feels heavy, go have a drink or two for a needed boost of joy.”
    He said…

    Matthew 11:28-30
    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    Joy for me was when Jesus freed me from the chains of alcohol and drugs. From the authority of the evil one.
    Jesus IS the love and joy I used to search for in the world.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, stay strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

    1. Once again, you nailed it. I suspect this is an area where modern culture has made something that was at least manageable in the Bible to be dangerous. We shouldn’t assume that everything acceptable in the Bible is still a good idea, today.

  3. Normally ordinary water ≠ extraordinary wine. However, when mixed with obedience and faith, it can!

    In a village called Cana wedding servants courageously obeyed Jesus and risked ruining the wedding by filling the wine jars with water. Then as they humbly served what they thought was ordinary water, they discovered that it was now extraordinary wine. If we will continually listen to and courageously obey the risen Jesus as we humbly do the ordinary things in our daily lives, He will make our ordinary extraordinary.

    I believe that God has saved the best for the body of Christ during the last days. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house.” “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” God is “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Like Mary told the servants at the wedding, “Do whatever He tells you.”

    Obey God the Father;
    Follow God the Son;
    Be led by God the Spirit.

    3 Things the Bible says to never stop doing:
    1) “Pray without ceasing;”
    2) “In everything give thanks;”
    3) “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
    (Keep your faith in everyday action! There’s no faith parking garage in Scripture.)

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