The Wedding Feast of Qanah (Cana) in Yochanan (John) 2:1-11 is a very symbolic moment in the scriptures. It is one of the first recorded miracles performed by our Messiah, one which set His ministry on a path towards His impaling on the stake. And yet, much of its symbolism is lost by over-emphasis on the miracle of Yahushua’s changing water to wine alone. We will go verse by verse and attempt to reclaim all its meaning.
(2:1) “The third day, there was a marriage in Qanah of the Galil. Yahushua’s mother was there.”
– It is very interesting that the feast begins on the third day. It brings to mind thoughts of Yahushua’s death and resurrection into His Father’s house. It also alludes to the fact that our Moshiach is preparing for a wedding feast of His own – the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
– The wedding took place in the town of Qanah (Cana). Qanah (H7071) קָנָה in Hebrew means “reeds” evoking the images of the Children of Yisra’el crossing the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) to escape the hand of Pharaoh. They entered the waters a diverse group of peoples, the exited the waters as Yisra’el (and Yisra’el is the bride)! They were being cleansed by the waters in preparation of accepting their “vows” at the foot of Mount Sinai, where “All the people answered together, and said, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.” (Shemoth (Exodus) 19:8)
– Galil, or Galilee, is an important starting place so that the prophecy about Yahushua would be fulfilled – Mattityahu (Matthew)4:14-16: “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Yesha`yahu the prophet, saying, (15) ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naftali, Toward the sea, beyond the Yarden, Galil of the Goyim, (16) The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, To those who sat in the region and shadow of death, To them light has dawned.”
– Galil, or Galilee, H1551 גָּלִיל in Hebrew means “a circle or circuit, a district.” The root, galal H1556 גָּלַל means “to roll, roll away, roll down, roll together.”
(2:2) “Yahushua also was invited, with his talmidim, to the marriage.”
– What is interesting here is the context – Yahushua was invited, with His talmidim, to bear witness to the wedding and the vows that were made there. And yet, it seems more as if the people at the Wedding Feast were there to bear witness to Him, especially His talmidim so that they would believe. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 19:15: “at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established.”
(2:3) “When the wine ran out, Yahushua’s mother said to him, “They have no wine.”
– Wine comes from the Hebrew word yayin H3196 which simply means “wine – from an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented).” It appears 183 times in the scriptures and was an important of component of covenants, feast and sacrifices. To run out of wine at the wedding feast would look bad upon the bridegroom – it would appear as though he did not properly prepare for that day, His bride, and the guest.
(2:4) “Yahushua said to her, ‘Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”
– Firstly, Yahushua is not being rude to his mother but alluding to the hour in which He will be the bridegroom and the responsibility will be His and His alone. He makes a similar remark to His Talmidim at the “Last Supper” – Mattityahu (Matthew) 26:27-29: “He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, ‘All of you drink it, (28) for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. (29) But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
– Secondly, Yahushua is trying to impress upon His mother and Talmidim the reality that it is the spiritual that is more important, not the carnal/fleshly:
Yochanan (John) 4:23-24: “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers. (24)Elohim is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Yochanan (John) 6:63: “It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.”
Romiyim (Romans) 8:5: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (6) For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and shalom…”
(2:5) “His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”
– Yahushua’s mother Miriam (Mary) presses the servants to follow His commands. She can do this with confidence because Yahushua does not, will not, and cannot sin! If he does, and disregards his father’s word, he is not Moshiach/Messiah:
Shemoth (Exodus) 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Yahweh your Elohim gives you.”
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as Yahweh your Elohim commanded you; that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you, in the land which Yahweh your Elohim gives you.
– In reality, Miriam is commanding them to “Shema” – to hear and obey! Shema, H8085 שָׁמַע means “to hear, listen to, obey.”
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:4:“Hear, Yisra’el: Yahweh is our Elohim; Yahweh is one (echad), (5) and you shall love the Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
(2:6) “Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Yehudim’ manner of purifying, containing twenty to thirty gallons apiece.”
– The “pots of water for purifying” were used by the Yehudim to cleanse/purifying their hands before eating. Yahushua later disputes with the Pharisees about this very issue:
Marҫos (Mark) 7:1-9: Then the Pharisees, and some of the Sadducees gathered together to him, having come from Yerushalayim. (2) Now when they saw some of his talmidim eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault. (3) For the Pharisees, and all the Yehudim, don’t eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the Zakenim (man-made traditions – “takanot”). (4) They don’t eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches. (5) The Pharisees and the Sadducees asked him, “Why don’t your talmidim walk according to the tradition of the Zakenim, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?” (6) He answered them, “Well did Yesha`yahu prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, But their heart is far from me. (7) But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the mitzvot of men.’ (8)”For you set aside the mitzvah of Elohim, and hold tightly to the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things.” (9) He said to them, “Full well do you reject the mitzvah of Elohim, that you may keep your tradition.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 15:9: “And in vain do they worship me, Teaching as doctrine rules made by men.”
– Yahushua chastised the Pharisees and Sadducees for creating their own traditions and holding more firmly to them than the Torah that was supposed to be life:
Mattityahu (Matthew) 11:29-30: “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. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
– Also interesting is the symbolism of the number of water pots – “six.” Six for the six days of creation which work was done, and for the number of days in which man’s work could be done. The number six, in Hebrew thought, is also number of a man for man was created on the sixth day. The number six is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter “vav/waw” which in the Paleo-Hebrew is a hook or connector, a tent stake use to stabilize the tent and anchor it to the earth.
– Furthermore the imagery of stone, much like the hearts of the unbelieving – “stony hearts.” Through repentance and immersion with water we are cleansed – the man of flesh dies and the new man of spirit begins. Then Father Yahweh can write His Torah on a Heart of Flesh not a heart of stone:
Yechezq’ĕl (Ezekiel) 11:19: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh…”
Yechezq’ĕl (Ezekiel) 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
Yirmeyahu 31:33: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisra’el; After those days, says Yahweh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people.”
(2:7) Yahushua said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim.
(2:8) He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.
– Mishlè (Proverbs) 3:9-10: Honor Yahweh with your substance, with the first fruits of all your increase: (10) so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
– It also is a pointer to the Samaritan woman at the well in Yochanan (John) Chapter 4:
Yochanan (John) 4: 28-29: “The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this Moshiach?”
– The imagery of bringing some of the new wine to the Master of the Feast makes me think of the remnant of the Body of Messiah which will be presented as the “virgin bride” before the Master of Creation, our Father Yahweh:
Mattityahu (Matthew) 25:1-13: “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. (3) Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, (4) but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (5) Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. (6) But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’ (7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. (8) The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ (9)But the wise answered, saying, ‘What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ (10) While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. (11)Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ (12) But he answered, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ (13) Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
– It also brings to mind the separation of the wheat from the darnel/tares: Mattityahu (Matthew) 13:30: Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel/tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
(2:9) “When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom,”
(2:10) And said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!”
– Obviously the practice, as described by the Master of the Feast, was to give the good wine first. It would coat the tongue and inebriate the wedding guest so that they could not discern the difference between the good wine and the lesser wine that followed.
– The symbolism here can refer to multiple things:
Difference between “law of the firstborn” and “Yahweh’s firstborn”
– The firstborn of men i.e. Adam, Qayin (Cain), Yishma’el (Ishmael), Esav (Esau), Reuven (Reuben), Abinadab, Amnon (sons of Man, Adam, Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchaq (Isaac), Ya’aqob (Jacob), Yishai (Jesse), & David respectively) were deserving of the inheritance and double blessing. And yet Yahweh’s firstborn are quite different – Yahushua (the “2nd Adam”), Hevel (Able), Yitzchaq (Isaac), Ya’aqob (Jacob), Yoseph (Joseph), Dawid (David), Shelomoh (Solomon).
Separation between set-apart and profane, those belonging to Yahweh and those that do not –
10 Virgins, wheat & tares, Sheep & goats.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 25:32-33: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
(2:11) “This beginning of his signs Yahushua did in Qanah of the Galil, and revealed his glory; and his talmidim believed in him.”