The social customs behind the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine, are very interesting.
First, it’s interesting that Jesus was invited to the wedding. Wherever the desert monks got their idea of complete separation and isolation form society, they didn’t get it from Jesus. Jesus engaged human society.
Unlike weddings in North America that may last only an hour or so (I did a wedding for my niece in which the entire service was 14 minutes long – at her request!). Weddings in the Ancient Near East typically lasted days, even up to a week!
The culture in the ANE was a shame-based culture, and it would have been shameful for the host to fail to provide enough wine and a suitable feast for the wedding guests. Mary seems to feel compassion for the potentially embarrassed host, and understanding the compassion in her son Jesus, suggests that he do something to help the host out. Up to this point there have been no miracles performed by Jesus recorded in John. So, I’m not sure that her first thought was for Jesus to prove he’s the messiah to everyone by performing a huge public miracle.
Regardless of the miracle question – both Mary and her son Jesus apparently were compassionate people. Mary identified the awkward situation that was brewing, and Jesus indeed intervened and preserved the honor of the wedding host while showing he’s God in the flesh.
Do you see others through the lens of compassion? When someone else fails to prepare, or runs short in some way, is your response cynical rejoicing or compassion? Jesus felt compassion. May we also.
Enjoy Walking with the Savior Today,