Why Did Jesus Turn Water to Wine?

by Joshua Tilghman on January 22, 2013

Jesus changes water to wineThe Gospel of John records a pretty cool miracle: at a wedding in Cana, Jesus turned water into wine. He certainly wouldn’t have had any problem getting into a college fraternity. 🙂

All joking aside, we have to ask why this miracle? Wouldn’t that have contributed to drunken guests? Ordinary humans were allowed to do that sort of thing, but God himself? What business does he have with such a miracle?

I remember the first time I really thought about this in church. I probably raised an eyebrow.  In fact, if I remember correctly, some of the other younger teenagers did too. A lively debate ensued in our Wednesday-night Bible study on whether or not this wine contained alcohol. Our study leader, one of the deacons, suggested it was just grape juice. He didn’t sound very convinced when he told us that. He must have discussed it with the pastor too, because the next week he came back and told us that the wine back then was a lot weaker than it is today. Something about one part wine for everything three parts water. What a copout! At any rate, the entire discussion could have been avoided if the true spiritual significance of this event was taught in our Bible study lesson. Unfortunately for all of us, no one knew what that was.

So why did Jesus change water into wine? This story is not so much about the literal transformation of water into wine as it is about a transformation meant to happen within the individual. Wine symbolizes the wisdom and intuition that comes from the divine mind. Water symbolizes the inferior mental-emotional ego. Even as Jesus’ life will exemplify this process, so is everyone else’s who chooses to walk the spiritual path.

It is interesting that the Apostle John closes the scene with these words: “This beginning of miracles Jesus did in Cana of Galilee…” (John 2: 11). John wants us to know that Jesus has been officially initiated. The miracle was the seal. The miracle that Jesus has performed with the water and the wine will spiritually manifest in the rest of the Gospel.

The fact that this miracle was performed at a wedding is also significant. In marriage, two become one flesh. The transformation symbolized by Jesus’ miracle of water into wine also involves a union of the higher and lower natures into one flesh, which is then manifested in the human body. By crucifying our ego, the ego is absorbed by the higher functioning mind and then our actions become more meaningful and productive.

Please realize that this short Gospel scene is not so much about Jesus as it is meant to be about us. Jesus is the master teacher, but we are his disciples. The Gospel states:

“And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.”

Jesus wasn’t the only one called. He’s not meant to be the only one center stage. This story goes deeper than just one man. It was meant for all mankind. We, his disciples, are at the wedding with him, and should we accept the spiritual calling, we also must be initiated. By doing literal miracles? No. The real miracle is the individual life that is transformed from water to wine. And that’s us.

As I read more and more of the Bible over the next year, I use to trouble over another part of this story. Jesus’ mother tells him that the wine has run out, but Jesus is reluctant to do anything about it. John states:

“…the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:3-4).

The funny part is that his mother completely ignores Jesus’ statement and tells the servants of the wedding to do whatever Jesus command anyway. It’s as if Jesus’ mother could care less what he thought. She knew what he was capable and what he must do. It’s as she knows—through divine intuition—that Jesus is supposed to manifest his glory at the wedding.

Mothers in scripture and myth symbolize the divine feminine aspect of spirit which, according to G.S. Gaskell, “…directs human evolution, and it is eventually through her functioning and through the raising of the soul by intuition…” that a higher state of consciousness is achieved. In other words, the divine feminine helps bring out the latent potential of the divine within us. Is this the true role of Mary in this scene? Yes, and when I saw it for the first time John 2:3-4 then made complete sense.

We shouldn’t be surprise when Jesus tries to tell his mother it isn’t his time yet. Even Jesus isn’t immune to the lower nature’s resistance to evolve. How many times do we resist the higher calling? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I do it multiple times a day. I’ve never been the guru type who learned about meditation and then ascended to the mountain top to remain there ever sense. Some days I have no motivation at all. You get my drift—the point of Jesus’ reaction to his mother isn’t to say Jesus literally resisted his mother, but that we are all prone to put off spiritual maturity because it’s going to take work. The ego always resists even though it’s good for us in the end.

The last important point I want to draw out in this post is the six water pots. They also carry significance.

“And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews…” Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear [the wine] to the governor of the feast. (John 2:6-8).

As you might have guessed, it’s no coincidence as to why there are six water pots. Just as the six literal water pots become vehicles to hold the wine, we are human beings comprised of six vehicles that house consciousness. They are the physical, etheric, emotional, mental, lesser causal, and higher causal bodies (some of these were mentioned in former post). True spiritual transformation and consciousness evolution happens when we learn to integrate our awareness in all of these vehicles. Man then becomes a multidimensional being with a truly expanded consciousness.

The governor of the feast that Jesus offers the wine to in the last part of the above verse represents the divine order of the universe. Jesus is offering up his transformation according to the universal laws and order of God. This transformation and union also represents the natural order of the evolving soul. It doesn’t happen over-night. And for most, it’s highly improbable to happen in one life-time. Nonetheless, we should take responsibility for our self and be actively involved in this evolutionary process. It’s a grand ride because it’s meant to be!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam January 24, 2013 at 3:49 am

Hello, thanks again for your insightful posts. I have been thinking alot lately and wanted to put another thought on the table for discussion. If Jesus was a divine bieng living in God conciousness couldnt all of these account be absolutely true through the principle of synchronicity. Meaning that Jesus was THE son of god, meaning he was filled with gods holy spirit (christ consciousness) to its fullest extent becoming ONE with God in spirit. And EVERYTHING he did was in acorrdance to the wisdom of the universe to teach us. Its pretty apparent that the wisdom behind these scriptures is otherworldy in nature. Christ consciousness has been known to attract principles such as synchronicity as one becomes more aware of the universe. So everything he did in the external world synchronized with the internal soul, because quantum mechanics is teaching now that the world OUT THERE is actually IN HERE in our brains. Just electric signals telling us the makeup of the physical reality. So if Jesus was IN US he would naturally be OUT THERE anyways.Just food for thought.


Joshua Tilghman January 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm


I follow what you are saying. This thought has certainly crossed my mind before. And I believe the Jesus of the Gospels is modeled from real human behavior, and probably modeled after an extraordinary human who walked the earth many years ago. However, there are many contradictions in the Gospel accounts. It would be too long of a list to go into them here. My point is, the Jesus account we have in the Gospels is embellished with symbol and myth. If the entire Jesus account was true exactly as it was written in the Bible, which account is the truth? And if it were all true, wouldn’t the word of God have to be perfect without any contradictions. Personally, the contradictions aren’t a big deal because no one was trying to write a literal account of what happened. Besides, myth is a much more powerful avenue to teach abstract spiritual principles.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.


joe fisher January 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Number 19:19 the 3rd day & the 7th day is the same. 3& 7 means complete. Genesis days of creation are about man becoming one w/God as Jesus did.
jn2:4 Jesus says woman what have I to do w/thee? my hour is not yet come. The hour he speaks of is the wine of wrath vengance for the destruction of his temple (Jesus & his church body). More must die before he fulfills the wine of wrath.
=Rev.6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them;& it was said unto them, that they sould REST yet for a little season,until their fellowservants also & their brethren,that should be KILLED as they were, should be fullied.(3&7th day) His hour is the WINE of Wrath! The best wine for last.This is why Jesus says it is not yet his hr. There will be more to die for him.
In verse 7 sixth seal is opened great earth qauke. Rev 11:11-after 3 days spirit of life entered the 2 witnesses. 12 great voice come up hither. 13 As hr a earthquake.
on the 3rd day a remnant will rise from a spiritual death 144,000. The spirit of God will be upon them w/o measure. Christ like! This will happen again at the end on the 7th day only on a large scale.


Joshua Tilghman January 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Thanks for commenting, Joe. I definitely agree with the first part of what you said. Genesis days are about us becoming ONE.


Christine Hoeflich January 28, 2013 at 1:34 am

Thanks for this post Joshua, a deeper way to interpret the well-known Bible story!


Joshua Tilghman January 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Christine! Looking forward to reading your new post. I hadn’t even realized it was posted. Going there shortly.


Jakob July 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Hello Joshua,

Firstly I would like to say that I love your articles, they are very insightful and have facilitated a number of realizations in me. For that I thank you. Out of pure curiosity, how would one write an article for you/this website? It seems like a lot of guests have done so, and I feel that I could contribute a lot to the overall discussion.

Kind regards,



Joshua Tilghman July 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Hi Jakob,

Thanks for the encouragement. And I would love to take a look at your work. If you want to write an article, do it in a word document and submit it to me attached through e-mail. I have my e-mail posted on the write for this site tab at the top of the webpage. Hope to see something soon. I don’t accept everything I get, but I definitely read everything carefully.


Jakob July 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

You’re very welcome. Great! -It is certainly understandable that you must turn away some of what you receive, hopefully I don’t wind up in that pile. In any case, I look forward to seeing what you think of what I have to offer. Thank you for your consideration.

charles z February 10, 2013 at 4:09 am

I always thought that Jesus was here as a way for God to walk in the shoes of his creations, and the reason we find forgiveness through Jesus is Jesus is why God understands us better haven walking in our shoes.


Joshua Tilghman February 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm


We all are God’s way to walk in his creation.

Thanks for commenting.


anny August 31, 2013 at 11:25 am

Hello Joshua,

The Bible is really telling the same stories over and over again, each time in a different version, in order for us to be able to tumble to the truth, for once you have understood one thing, more and more will follow.

This story is about a wedding and that image is often used for the final reunion of the two sides of polarity, the male and the female. In this case it is a wedding where the groom is hardly mentioned and the bride not at all, if I remember correctly. Instead there are Jesus and Mary. The disciples are mentioned but do not really figure in the story.

When there is no more wine, Mary seems to think that Jesus should do something about it.

Could it be that here they are the male and the female, or the Christ to be birthed and the nefesj, the soul of man, which has to give birth to him?

There is talk of water and wine, but who is the one who has to change the water of the ego/emotions into the wine of the Christ being born? Is it Jesus or is it Mary?

It seems very unkind what Jesus says to his mother: “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come”. But I have heard that in the original Greek (and indeed in the Hebrew translation it says the same) it says: What is for you and what is for me? In other words, what is your task and what is mine at this stage? It is up to you now and when you have finished your task, crucified all your emotions, then it will be my time.

Mary understands and sets to work. This is put in the form of Mary telling the servants to do whatever Jesus will tell them to do. Why would they even listen to her if she were just a guest? Telling the servants to listen to Jesus and follow his commands means abandoning all power of the ego by making it a servant of the Christ. And then the time of Jesus has come and the ego listens to the Christ waiting to be born and pours out the water of the emotions in the vessels of the six bodies which then is transformed to the wine of divine consciousness.

The word for servant here is in the Hebrew translation sjarat, 300-200-400, which means the last three characters of the Hebrew alphabet. You could see this as the last three things to do in this world before crossing over into the world of divine consciousness which is signified by 500 but is not a character.

The same three characters in another order form the word resjet, which is the fishing net in which the 153 fish were caught in the last chapter of John. Of course the fish in the sea is everything that moves in the waters of the ego and that has to be fished up and eaten/processed. According to prof. Weinreb there are 17 phases necessary to do that before you can call the result good, tov, 17. When you add all these phases together 1 plus 2 plus 3 plus .. plus 17, you get 153. There are other ways to get to this number but they all point to completion of the process.

Of course all this does not mean that your interpretation is not right. The beauty (and difficulty) of these stories is that they can be interpreted in many different ways which however will never contradict each other but just show different sides of the process.


Joshua Tilghman September 1, 2013 at 8:05 am


You wrote: “I have heard that in the original Greek (and indeed in the Hebrew translation it says the same) it says: What is for you and what is for me? In other words, what is your task and what is mine at this stage? It is up to you now and when you have finished your task, crucified all your emotions, then it will be my time.”

Great stuff. I really enjoyed the interpretation. I remember thinking the King James version of that scripture always did seem harsh and so out of character with Jesus. Thanks for your comment.


anny September 2, 2013 at 3:36 am

Hi Joshua,

It is not just the King James version that translates it in that sense. I have a lot of Bible translations in several languages and most of them do, also the Dutch ones. That is why it is so important to remember that you are reading a translation. There is always interpretation in there.

And as far as the New Testament itself is concerned, there are also a lot of differences between the (pieces of the) manuscripts (that in themselves were copies, maybe even of copies, of the original ones) that were used for the translations. The oldest manuscripts still in existence are from the third or fourth centuries at the earliest. These manuscripts are all different from each other and even within one and the same manuscript many changes and ‘improvements’ were made. We should realize that in the early centuries people did not have printed Bibles but handwritten copies that were passed around and copied and so on and also mistakes were made in the process.

Research into the matter of the manuscripts has been done more than once, in decades widely apart and in different countries. The shocking result of this research was every time that there are many differences between these manuscripts; there are even more differences than there are words in the whole of the New Testament. Sometimes words had been crossed out and changed even more than once, probably to fit into the interpretation of the person who was using the manuscript at the time. And then this was copied again and so on.

And then we have not even talked about translations yet. During my own research I always used at least four or five different translations for comparison, in a few in Dutch and one in English beside the Hebrew original text of the Old Testament, and for the New Testament also a Hebrew translation and a German one. It is an eye opener when you see the same text in so many different translations beside each other. Sometimes they are widely different! Especially when the subject is difficult to understand. And that is understandable.

People read different meanings into the same sentence, like I did in your sentence about the shallow interpretation of the meaning of Mary’s name in one of my other comments. I did not make a mistake, you might have meant what I thought you meant but you did not. You are there to clear it up but the writers of the Bible manuscripts are not.

So I would never say that a certain text in the Bible means this or that exclusively but certainly not on the basis of a text in a Bible translation. Too many people have had a hand in that. I think it would be good if people were aware of these things whatever their view of the Bible message is.



Christine Hoeflich September 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Great comment on the Bible interpretations and translations, Anny! I totally agree with you.


Walter Bud Karas December 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

i think it was much simpler than that,,,,,, we was just showing really how 2 do this water two wine


Joshua Tilghman December 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm


I do understand wanting to interpret this literally, but scripture always has a deeper spiritual meaning. Thanks for commenting.


Walter Bud Karas December 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

over the years my opinion is the logical understand always rose up….. they spoke different back than and i have learned two understand that.. for me ,,, anyway,,, it always come full circle.. jesus was a great guru so to speak .. John the babtist studied plants and was a great herbalist… when i applied this .. i GOT it .. LOL Bud


Chris March 16, 2014 at 12:51 am

Hi Guys,

One thing to say clearly is that there is one thing that has the ability to turn water into wine in this world and that is a grapevine. Jesus says he was the “true vine,” so that’s proof that there’s much more than a literal interpretation.

Joshua, I told you about my site that I had up for about a year and took down. I had many more article and have not yet put them back up, but I put the site back up and also wrote on the same miracle at http://madeworthy.com/jesus-turns-water-into-wine/ I would love for you to read it and let me know what you think. Well, anyone is welcome to read it and give feedback. I think that is the how the word gets out, through community.


roger tembo December 9, 2015 at 4:53 am

Hi Josh,
Mine is not a comment but a humble request; I have been a theosophist for over fifteen years and I find your posts very refreshing. Most of what you discuss is what we read and discuss in our meetings. However I would like to ask if its possible for you to send me the Gaskell bible dictionary. I have seen it on Amazon but I’m unable to buy the same for now.
May I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Joshua Tilghman December 22, 2015 at 8:11 pm

roger, contact me through the contact form on the contact page.


Justin Williams February 11, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Another interpretation is that the water represents the first initiation with sexual alchemy in marriage between husband and wife where the sexual waters are transformed into the higher wine. This is the view held by gnostics like Samuel Aun Weor that,

“The first miracle performed by Jesus was the transmutation of water into wine; Jesus performed this miracle at a wedding. Thus, this is the first miracle that our disciples must perform; because this is how one enters initiation.

Yes, it is certain that by means of sexual contact within marriage we transmute the water into wine. We have to transmute the water (semen) into the wine of the light of the Alchemist; and indeed, sexual magic is the way.

So, through his first miracle Jesus publicly taught sexual transmutation, Sexual Magic, and in this way he began the opening of the path of initiation for all of this suffering humanity!”


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