John 2:4-7


I’m learning about Mary in the Scriptures from a book by Hilda Graeff. This passage has always beffudled me.

“‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ So they filled them to the brim." -John 2:4-7

It seems as if Jesus does not care about the wine, and doesnt want to perform any miracles. And then all of a sudden he seems to be convinced by Mary to transform the water jars. Why does Mary want the wedding to get drunk in the first place? And why does Jesus suddenly change his mind after telling off his mother?


Because by performing this, his first miracle, he would be beginning his journey to the cross. Jesus began his public ministry at Cana when he turned the water into wine. Up until that point he’d gathered a few disciples, but then many rabbis had such discipline at the time. By performing a miracle he “threw his hat into the ring” declaring that he was the expected Messiah. It’s not that he didn’t care, it’s that he was telling his mother, “If I do this you know where it will lead.” By saying, “What does this have to do with you and me,” he was making this point to her. This is why she responded to the servants, whom she apparently had already enlisted, “Do whatever he tells you.” She was saying to Jesus, “It’s up to you to decide.”

Why does Mary want the wedding to get drunk in the first place?

Where did you get this idea? :eek: Wedding feasts occurred over several days in the ancient world. They didn’t just have a one evening party. So, providing wine for several meals was a real concern. Everyone drank wine at the time, some wines more potent than others, and some of better quality that others. This is why the steward said of the water turned to wine, “You have saved the best wine for last.”

And why does Jesus suddenly change his mind after telling off his mother?

Jesus in no way “told off his mother.” He let her know his concerns and she answered him, as I described above.


Mary is given the great privilege of initiating Jesus’ public ministry.

Jesus does not want to start down the road which will ultimately lead to his death, saying, “My hour has not yet come.” Mary says, “Oh yes it has!” and instructs the waiters to do what Her Son tells them to do.

No other human has commanded God to act in the way Mary was allowed to do. It is a great honor for Mary.



He doesn’t tell off His mother. He bestows a GREAT honor upon her. He calls her “woman”, the same title given in Genesis 3:15.

15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush** your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Don’t confuse the modern understanding of the title “woman” with what it meant at that time. It was a great honor.**


The key word is “hour”. His hour had not yet come. When did his hour arrive? At the last supper. It was the start of the paschal mystery, Jesus’ own wedding feast between himself and the Church. He turned wine into his blood.

Notice the parallels?

[LIST]two wedding feasts[/LIST]

*]Jesus miraculously transforms two liquid drinks

*]Mary was present at both wedding feasts (at the foot of the cross in the latter)


Yesterday I bought Dr. Brant Pitre book, Jesus the groom the greatest loves story. there Dr. Pitre was explaining why Mary asked Jesus for the help. Well, he brought up some interesting verses from Isaiah, where the Messiah would bring wine to the feast.

I have to look at the book to give you the verses.


Dr. Pitre is excellent.



This is not a rebuke. Think of it as a test. The Greek literally means, “What to me and thee?” It may be taken as a directed question, a test of Mary, as her next move was to advise the servants to “Do whatever He tells you.” What did she know? How could she have known it, if it was His first miracle?

Here is some interesting commentary in the KnoxTranslation, which indicates that opinions are divided on the true meaning:

"[1] ‘Why dost thou trouble me with that?’ The Greek here is ambiguous; some would interpret it, ‘What concern is that of mine or of thine?’, but it is more probably to be understood as a Hebrew idiom, ‘What have I to do with thee?’, that is, ‘Leave me alone, do not interfere with me’, as in Mt. 8.29, and in many passages of the Old Testament. ‘My time has not come yet’ is understood by some commentators as referring to his Passion; others suppose that the time had not yet come for his performing this miracle, or perhaps for performing a miracle in public, since this was witnessed only by a few. ‘Woman’ was an address used in the ancient world without any suggestion of disrespect.

[2] Our Lord is generally understood to have turned the water in the six water-pots into wine. But, since the verb here used for ‘to draw’ applies more properly to drawing from a well, it is possible to suppose that the water-pots contained only water throughout, and that the wine came from the well itself, at the seventh time of drawing."

The seventh draw of water, and from where it actually came (since the scriptures are not explicit) is food for much contemplation - seven being the theological symbol of completion. The six jars (with the number six used to signify incompletion) were used to comply with the Mosaic covenant, and seem to imply that the covenant was incomplete until Jesus fulfilled it (see Matthew 5:17). And, the wine is an obvious allusion to, or presaging of the shedding of His blood, as well as the Holy Eucharist.


I didn’t know about him until recently, and my goodness, this guy is really good, and a great guy to have as an apologetic.


Thank you for contributing. I now have a better understanding of this passage.


Here also is the Haydock Commentary on John 2.


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