John's gospel is often thought to be composed slightly later than the three synoptic Evangels. It tends towards higher theological reflections, and so is sometimes symbolised by an eagle. This reading is taken from near the beginning of John. The great prologue to the gospel - and the word was made flesh - precedes this. John has made clear he is not the messiah, and two of his disciples (Andrew and Peter) leave Johna and follow our Lord (John 1:37). Immediately prior is the calling of two more disciples (Philip and Nathanael) with that great phrase 'come and see' (John 1:46). Now we jump into the narrative of this Word who is God who has been made flesh and called 4 disciples and whom John the Baptist proclaimed as the Lamb of God:
John 2:1-11 (My Translation)
1And on the third day, it happened (that there was) a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2But she invited Jesus and the his disciples to the wedding. 3And having given out wine, the mother of Jesus said to him. "They have no wine". 4And Jesus said to her, "What am I to you, woman? My hour is not yet coming'". 5His mother said to the servents, "What ever he says to you, you shall do". 6Six stone water jars were there according to the appointed purification of the Jews, each jar holding two or three measures*. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the water jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he said to them, "Now, draw water and take it to the person in charge." So they took (the water). 9 The person in charge tasted the water, it became as wine and he did not know from where came. But the servants who drew the water did know its origin. The bridegroom appeared (before) the person in charge, 10 And he said to him, "Any person, first puts out the good wine and (then) when they have got drunk, the inferior (wine is served). You have kept the good wine until now. 11This brought about the begening of he signs of Jesus in Cana of Galilee and his glory was revealed, and his disciples believed in him.
*A measure is about 10 gallions or 40 liters.
John 2:1-11 (Jerusaelm Bible)
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said; ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
Note on the Text
The mass reading itself leaves out the clause, on the third day, but choice of the compilers of the lectionary. This seems a shame, since the third day image is a powerful pointer forward to the resurrection and the new covenant - elsewhere talked in terms of new wine for new wineskins and of course fulfilled in the Eucharist.
These water-jars seem almost penitential in character, but from it comes the fine wine. It reminds us that through self-denial we reach a place of fulfillment. The New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old. The signs and images of the Old come to light in the New. St Paul says that we now see dimly as through a mirror, but then we shall see face to face - perhaps the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New gives an insight into how extensive the transformation of our vision in heaven might be compared to life on Earth as we know it. But we know our Father always brings out treasures for his beloved children, and so we need to trust in him and follow Jesus wholeheartedly