An allegorical interpretation of the Cana Miracle, 89 pages.
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The following are some propositions that I attempt to support in this interpretation of the Cana Miracle as a fictional allegory:
1) The Cana Wedding Story is a continuation of the New Creation story that the author of the gospel had begun in Jn 1:1. As such, it speaks symbolically of the New Creation (“water” [the Law and the Prophets] transformed into “wine” [the Holy Spirit]) that has come about via Jesus’ death and resurrection (= the filling of the jars with water “to the brim” [“the end of a period of time”]).
2) The Cana Wedding Story is a symbolic story of Jesus the Lamb wedding/marrying the people of God via his death and resurrection (= the filling of the jars with water “to the brim”).
3) The Cana Wedding Story is a symbolic story of Jesus both uniting and transforming the dispensation of the Law and the Prophets (= “water”) into the dispensation of the Holy Spirit (= “wine”) via his death and resurrection (= the filling of the jars with water “to the brim”).
4) The Cana Wedding Story symbolizes a spiritual famine for the Word of God (= the lack of “wine”) now having been quenched (= the abundance of wine”) via Jesus’ death and resurrection (= the filling of the jars with water “to the brim”).
5) The phrase “the third day” in Jn 2:1 serves at least three purposes: a) it gives meaning to the story on its literal level; b) when summed together with the three previous “the next day” phrases, it completes the 7-day creation in the New Creation motif that John had begun in Jn 1:1; and, most importantly, c) it alludes to Jesus’ resurrection (while also, at the same time, reminding the readers of his crucifixion).
6) The phrase “What between me and you” is taken from I Kings 17:18, thus serving as an allusion to one O.T. famine situation and conveying that famine theme to the Cana Miracle text.
7) The phrase “Do whatever he tells you” is borrowed from Genesis 41:55, a second O.T. famine situation, again projecting the O.T. famine theme onto the Cana Miracle text.
8 ) John alludes to another O.T. famine situation, and to its quenching, as described in Amos 8:11ff and 9:13ff, via his lack, and then abundance, of wine in the Cana Miracle, further defining his famine situation as a spiritual famine (a famine for the Word of the Lord) .
9) This is the most significant discovery in this paper. The word “water” in Jn 1:26,31,33; 2:7,9; 3:5; 4:7,13,15; and 1 Jn 5:6,8 symbolizes “the Law and the Prophets” or “the Father’s means of revelation”. It receives this symbolic meaning from two sources that John has used: Ex 2:10, which tells where Moses received his name (he was “drawn from the water”), and the Synoptic material as found in Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; and Lk 3:16, where John the Baptist proclaims that he came baptizing with water. Thus the two greatest of the Law and the Prophets- significantly the first and the last- are identified with the word “water”. If this interpretation is correct (that “water” = “the Law and the Prophets” or “the Father’s way of revealing Himself”), then what we have in I John 5:6-8 is a Trinitarian statement.
10) Both John the Baptist and Moses, having been identified with “water”, are personifications of “the Law and the Prophets” in John’s gospel. Thus, for example, when we read of the Baptist’ testimony that Jesus is the Christ we are really reading of the testimony of “the Law and the Prophets”.
11) The word “wine” in Jn 2 symbolizes “the dispensation of the Holy Spirit”, and as such, is being compared/contrasted to “the dispensation of the Law and the Prophets” even as John the author had compared/contrasted the two in Jn 1:33; 3:5; 4:13-14 and 1 Jn 5:6-8.
12) The word “wine” in Jn 2 alludes to Amos 9:13-14, Joel 1:5,10; 2:19,24; and 3:18. Performing such function, it further alludes to the prophecy in Joel 2:28-32, which speaks of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is from Joel where John draws the symbolic meaning “Spirit” for the word “wine”.
13) Luke, in Acts 2, reveals his knowledge of John’s Cana Miracle Allegory. There Luke plays on the word “wine” to symbolize “the Holy Spirit”, the phrase “the third day”, and the Joel 2 prophecy to speak of what Jesus accomplished via his death and resurrection.
14) The “mother of Jesus”, also referred to as “woman”, symbolizes both the New Eve who gives birth to the New Adam, and the OT people of God who give birth to Jesus and believe in him.
15) The phrase “the Jews” in John’s gospel refers to a specific group in John’s day that misinterpreted “the Law and the prophets” and refused to see Jesus as the Christ.
16) The phrase “my hour” in Jn 2:4 refers to Jesus’ hour of crucifixion and resurrection.
17) The phrase “his glory” in Jn 2:11refers to Jesus’ glorification on the cross and to his resurrection.
18) The “six, stone jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial cleansing” in Jn 2:6 symbolizes the “imperfect Law as administered by the Jews” as described in II Cor 3.
19) The filling of these jars with “water” symbolizes “time” passing before our eyes. When the jars are “filled to the brim”, which should be interpreted “to the end of a period of time”, then has the dispensation of “the Law and the prophets” reached their fulfillment and come to an end, then has Jesus’ “hour” come (cf Jn 2:4), then is the “water” (the Law and the Prophets) transformed into “wine” (the Holy Spirit), and then is his “glory” revealed.
20) John uses as some of his source materials in the writing of the Cana miracle a conglomeration of the following: Genesis 1-3; Mk 2:13-22; Mt 9:9-17; 22:1-4; Lk 5:27-39, I Kings 17:18; Genesis 41:55; Amos 8:11-12; 9:13-15; Joel 1:5,10; 2:19,24, 28-32; 3:18; II Cor 3; Gal 4:4-6; Ex 2:10-25, and 4:30-31.
The Cana Miracle.doc