Water and wine
- Why do so many assume that all the water in the ewers became wine?
The author is really very careful in the way he tells the story.
The servants 'filled them (the ewers) to the brim'. v.7.
Then Jesus tells them to 'draw some out'. This they do. v.8.
Then the steward tasted 'the water now become wine'. This is perfect
passive, 'which has been made into wine'. It is not pluperfect, 'which
had been made into wine'.
When was it made into wine? In the ewers? If the pluperfect was used,
The steward did not know where the wine came from, but 'the servants who
had drawn the water knew'. Not, 'the servants who had filled the ewers
knew'. The perfect passive makes it clear that the change took place
between the drawing out from the ewers and the pouring out into the wine
I think it is clear that only as the servants obeyed Jesus' orders to
'draw out now' did the water become wine.
If I am right, then what does the capacity of the water containers
matter? The water in them was not for drinking but for ritual washing.
The next time someone entered the house, all they would find in the
ewers was water, not wine.
Ross Saunders from DownUnbder
- Ross Saunders wrote:
> I think it is clear that only as the servants obeyedRamsey Michaels asked:
> Jesus' orders to 'draw out now' did the water become
> wine. If I am right, then what does the capacity of
> the water containers matter?
> If the capacity of the water containers does notI think that Ramsey poses a good question. I add the
> matter, why does the writer go to the trouble of
> giving us that information?
note that the evangelist also goes to the trouble to
tell us that Jesus ordered the servants to fill the
water containers and that the servants subsequently
filled them up to the top. Why would the evangelist
specify these things if they are unimportant?
I think that the evangelist is making a point about
the messiah bringing about eschatological fullness --
an abundance of wine (and bread/wheat) being expected
with the eschaton.
Consequently, I think that the evangelist meant for us
to understand all of the water as having been changed
Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City
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