This is the first ‘sign’ in John, what does it signify? What is its meaning?
Jesus question to his mother: “What is that to me and to you?” is a literal quotation or repeat of the question of the widow of Zarephath to Elijah in 1 Kings 17:18. This convergence gets lost in translation but is there in Greek.
The widow goes on to blame Elijah of the death of her son while Jesus continues with “my hour has not yet come”. Interestingly in John Jesus’ “hour” tends to refer to the hour of the cross, the time when Jesus is completely powerless, the hour of his death (cp. 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, 24). In Kings a story of transformation from death to life follows in John a story of transformation from water into wine follows.
Maybe John wants to remind us of the flour and oil that did not run out in Zarephath, just like the wine does not run out in Cana. The miracle of the flowing oil does not prevent the danger of death. In Cana even more emphatically it seems that the wine pre-figures the cup of the new covenant that is Jesus blood. The water of purification (baptism?) changes into the wine of thanksgiving (Eucharist?) Does this miracle point us to Jesus’ death or (with Elijah in Zaraphath) beyond death to the wine of the Feast of Lamb?
17 January 2016
John 2: 1-11
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.