LII. A second image used by John is the combination of the vine and its product, wine. While bread and oil are also common Old Testament realities that speak of life and healing, John mentions bread primarily only in chapter 6, the Bread of Life discourse, and olive oil not at all. However, wine appears as central to the wedding feast at Cana, where water becomes wine, the ordinary changed to the extraordinary, the material of celebration and joy beyond the daily routines of life. It also reflects the fulfillment of the old in the new, the Law into Grace. Further, Jesus presents Himself as the True Vine, to which His followers must remain connected to have life.
The Wedding at Cana begins with a reference to being “on the third day,” an Old Testament phrase related to some revelation of God’s glory, as with the giving of the Sinai covenant through Moses in Exodus and as suggested by some prophetic oracles as well. By telling Mary, “my hour has not yet come,” Cana is linked to the Passion, the “hour” prepared by the Father for the glorification of the Son through the Cross, lifted up to draw all to Himself. The vast amount of wine He gives this couple for their wedding feast – perhaps 150 gallons – symbolizes the incredible abundance of God’s joy, freely given. And the wedding itself is not just the occasion of this sign, but is itself a sign: in Christ, God is entering this covenant of love in an unbreakable new way, showing His fidelity to the end.