Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
THE WATER JARS AT THE WEDDING FEAST
John ii: 1, to iii: 21.
FEW days after Jesus met his first followers or
disciples at the river Jordan, he came with these men
to a town in Galilee called Cana, to be present at a
wedding. In those lands a feast was always held at a
wedding and often the friends of those who were married
stayed several days, eating and drinking together.
The mother of Jesus was at this wedding as a friend of
the family, for Nazareth, where she lived, was quite
near to Cana. Before the wedding feast was over all
the wine had been used, and there was no more for the
guests to drink. The mother of Jesus knew that her son
had power to do whatever he chose, and she said to him,
"They have no wine."
Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have I to do with
thee? My hour is not yet come."
But his mother knew that Jesus would in some way help
the people in their need; and she said to the servants
who were waiting at the table, "Whatever he tells you
to do, be sure to do it."
In the dining hall were standing six large stone jars,
each about as large as a barrel, holding twenty-five
gallons. These jars held water for washing, as the
Jews washed their hands before every meal, and washed
their feet as often as they came from walking in the
street, since they wore no shoes, but only sandals.
Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the water-jars with
The servants obeyed Jesus and filled the jars up to the
brim. Then Jesus spoke to them again, and said, "Now
draw out some of the water and take it to the ruler of
JESUS AT THE WEDDING FEAST
They drew out water from the jars, and saw that it had
been turned into wine. The ruler did not know from
what place the wine had come, but he said to the young
man who had just been married,
 the bridegroom, "At a
feast everybody gives his best wine at the beginning,
and afterward, when his guests have drunk freely, he
brings on wine that is not so good; but you have kept
the good wine until now."
This was the first time that Jesus used the power that
God had given him, to do what no other man could do.
Such works as these were called "miracles" and Jesus
did them as signs of his power as the Son of God. When
the disciples saw this miracle they believed in Jesus
more fully than before. After this Jesus went with his
mother and his younger brothers to a place called
Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But
they stayed there only a few days, for the feast of the
Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem to
attend it. You remember that the feast of the Passover
was held every year to keep in mind how God had led the
people of Israel out of Egypt long before.
When Jesus came to Jerusalem he found in the courts of
the Temple men who were selling oxen and sheep and
doves for the sacrifices, and other men sitting at
tables changing the money of Jews who came from other
lands into the money of Judea. All this made the
courts around the Temple seem like a market, and not a
place for the worship of God.
Jesus picked up some cord, and made from it a little
whip. With it he began to drive out of the Temple all
the buyers and sellers. He was but one, and they were
many; but such power was in his look that they ran
before him. He drove the men, and the sheep and the
oxen; he overturned the tables, and threw on the floor
the money; and to those who were selling the doves he
 "Take these things away; make not my Father's house a
house for selling and buying!"
JESUS DRIVES THE BUYERS AND SELLERS FROM THE TEMPLE
These acts of Jesus were not pleasing to the rulers of
the Jews, for many of them were getting rich by this
selling of sacrifices and changing of money. Some of
the rulers came to Jesus, and said to him, "What right
have you to come here and do such things as these?
What sign can you show that God has given to you power
to rule in this place?"
Jesus said to them, "I will give you a sign. Destroy
this house of God, and in three days I will raise it
Then said the Jews, "It has taken forty-six years to
build this Temple, and it is not finished yet. Will
you raise it up in three days?"
But Jesus did not mean the Temple on Mount Moriah. He
was speaking of himself; for in him God was dwelling as
in a temple, and he meant that when they should put him
to death, he would rise again in three days.
Afterward, when Jesus had died and risen
 again, his
followers, the disciples, thought of what he had said,
and understood these words.
While Jesus was in Jerusalem one of the rulers of the
Jews, a man named Nicodemus, came to see him. He came
in the night, perhaps because he was afraid to be seen
coming in the daytime. He said to Jesus, "Master, we
know that you are a teacher come from God, for no man
can do these wonderful things that you do unless God is
Jesus said to Nicodemus, "I say to you in truth, that
unless a man is born anew he cannot see the kingdom of
Nicodemus did not know that this meant that to be saved
we must have new hearts given to us by the Lord. He
said, "Why, how can a man be born twice? How can one
be born again after he has grown up?"
Jesus said to him, "I tell you of a truth, that unless
a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God."
By this he meant that we must be baptized, and that
God must put his Spirit in us, if we are to become God's
children. Jesus said also, "As Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man
be lifted up, that every one who believes in him may
have everlasting life. For God so loved the
world that he gave his only
Son, that whosoever believes in him may not perish,
but may have everlasting life.
For God sent not his son into
the world to condemn (that is to judge) the world; but
that the world through him might be saved."
We have already read in Story 32,
how Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the
wilderness, and how that serpent pointed to Christ.