Water into Wine

The other night my mother was on the phone with my grandfather (he is Baptist), he was telling my mother that the only reason Jesus turned the water into wine was because the water wasn’t fit to drink. I have tried to search and look for the answer but I don’t know where to find it. Does anyone know the answer to this? Thanks!

“Religion is not something that you or I can touch. Religion is the worship of God – therefore a matter of conscience. I alone must decide for myself and you for yourself, what we choose. For me, the religion I live and use to worship God is the Catholic religion. For me, this is my very life, my joy, and the greatest gift of God in his love for me. He could have given me no greater gift.” - Mother Teresa

One of the Messianic signs, as foretold by Isaiah (or one of the prophets) was that at the Messiah’s coming, rivers of wine would flow. Wine gladdens the heart. We gladden the heart of God. Thus, when Jesus told his Blessed Mother that his “hour” had not yet come, Mary ordered the servants to “Do whatever He tells you”, prompting Jesus to perform the first sign.

Rewind to the scene where we have the 12-year-old Jesus telling His Mother and St. Joseph that He was about doing His Father’s work. The Blessed Mother probaby told Him that it was not time yet; that is why He submitted Himself to their authority.

It sounds like your grandfather is an “old school” Baptist who believes that all alcoholic drinks are wrong, and therefore has to try to discredit the Cana story.

It seems to me that if alcohol is really wrong, and there really was a problem with the water, Jesus would have just made the water fit to drink. Your mother might want to ask him – respectfully, of course – why he thinks Jesus didn’t do that.


You may want to ask your grandfather for the Scriptural basis of his interpretation.

Weddings in Christ’s time were just as important moments of partying and feasting as it is today. It was the groom’s family’s responsibility to ensure that there was plenty of food and drink, so a miscalculation about the wine was a big deal.

Scripture is quite clear here. Mary, who takes pity on the couple and intercedes to ask her Son for aid, says, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). She did not say “grape juice.” There is nothing in Scripture that suggests that the guests could not or were not drinking water as well. However, Mary knew of the importance of wine to the feast.

Most importantly, it wasn’t as if Christ were carrying around spare jugs of wine. Mary showed immense faith, first by reaching out to her Son for help for what would seemingly be an impossible wish, but then instructing the servants there (after Christ kindly asks her what she was asking Him to do, since He had not yet chosen to begin His ministry with miracles), without knowing what her Son would do, to “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). This, by the way, is a powerful example of Marian intercession. She can’t do the miracle, but she can ask for help on our behalf.

Historically, fermentation was key to survival. There were no refrigerators or ice, and water often and quickly could become tainted. Fermented liquids, with alcohol, resisted harmful growths with its antibacterial properties, and was also more enjoyable on the palate.

While your grandfather’s presumption that the water was generally unfit to drink without preparation has some validity, Scripture shows that Mary’s statement makes it very clear that the lack of wine, not just something fit to drink, was a serious problem, and Christ responded in kind.

There is nothing wrong in the use of wine–and the wedding at Cana shows that Christ performs this first miracle (anonymously, as the headwaiter had no idea that the wine he approved of wasn’t the groom’s idea) not only because of His mother’s request, but as a sign of his glory, the formal start of his earthly ministry (John 2:11).

Edward Sri has an article that goes into better detail on this miracle. The Vatican also touches on the importance of this first miracle through Blessed John Paul II’s thoughts.

I kept the wedding of Cana in my thoughts for my wedding. The bride and groom offered beer and wine as complimentary beverages at our reception. As back in Cana, the gesture was well received. :wink:

As was mentioned, the abundance of wine is a sign of the messianic age.

**On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. (Isa 25:6)

And then, on that day, the mountains shall drip new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk; And the channels of Judah shall flow with water: A fountain shall issue from the house of the LORD, to water the Valley of Shittim. (Joel 3:18)

Yes, days are coming, says the LORD, When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the vintager, him who sows the seed; The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains, and all the hills shall run with it. (Amos 9:13)**

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.