A few weeks ago we were finishing dinner and as I poured the last drop of wine into my wife’s glass, our 5 year old son asked, “Why don’t you just turn our glasses of water into wine like Jesus did? You always say we want to do what Jesus did, so why don’t you turn water into wine?” Unfortunately I did not have a great answer; I explained how we continue to grow closer to God in order to know His ways and learn to hear his voice. The closer we get to God, the better we can hear Him, then we will do as He does.
My son’s simple question caused me to dig into the Scriptures. It is interesting how John makes it clear that Jesus’ first miracle was changing water to good wine at the wedding in Cana. (John 2:1-11) What is even more interesting is that Jesus uses wine to signify his blood being shed for the new covenant. (Luke 22:20) Jesus took spiritless water and made it spirit-filled wine at Cana. The wine first served at the wedding was made through the traditional manner and the physical work of men. The second wine was made through instant transformation, the water became spirit-filled and the wine was better than the first.
In the Old Testament, animal sacrifice was the only way to remit sins. Priests had to be cleansed, blood had to be shed, sacrifice burnt, then there had to be a proper disposal of the remains. This was a necessary practice to forgive sins but it was temporary; the next sin meant another sacrifice must be made. Through all of this work, ONLY the priests who entered the Holy of Holies experienced the Spirit of God. All of the sacrifice was work through the hands of men.
So, when Jesus turned water into wine, he took what was used to cleanse the hands of priests in preparation for an offering and made it spirit-filled to be consumed, ingested. Jesus revealed a new covenant by taking the spiritless water and made spirit-filled wine. He ushered in the new covenant at the last supper when he took the spirit-filled wine and said “this is My blood.” His Blood, the permanent forgiveness of sins, is the New Covenant which brings the Holy Spirit.
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. –Matthew 26:27-28
Suddenly people had a chance to “walk with God” and to hear from God for themselves, just like Adam had in the garden. What was lost with the first sin in the Garden of Eden, the first sacrifice, the first blood shed, the first death that literally covered their naked sin, was regained upon the cross through God’s second sacrifice, His Son. First God sacrificed His beautiful creation to cover two people’s sin and last He sacrificed His Son to cover ALL sin.
The separation was over, the blood and water flowed from Jesus’ side and brought together the spiritless cleansing water, the spiritless blood, and God’s sacrifice to internalize the forgiveness of sins. No longer a covering or sprinkling, no longer a ritual, but now like Eden, an exchange and a relationship. In the same way Jesus internalized and personalized the 10 Commandments (Matt 5:21-23), God personalized the forgiveness of sin.The first covenant brought a covering of sin through animal sacrifice that was good but, the second covenant brought complete and permanent forgiveness that was better. In the wedding at Cana the first wine was processed by the hands of men and it was good but, the second wine at the wedding was better, it was miraculously and instantaneously transformed into spirit-filled water.
When Jesus instructed us to “do as I have done and expect to do more through the Holy Spirit,” (Jn 14:12-14) he was not teasing. Even though I may not turn water to wine, I expect Him to work through me in healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons, bringing hope practically and prophetically (and I’ll change water to wine if God so desires :^). These gifts are just as miraculous and transformational as changing water to wine. God’s love operating through us is as miraculously transformational as Jesus’ first miracle changing water into wine.