John 2:1-11 (The First Sign at Cana)

Marriage in the Orthodox Church

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.


  • By His presence at this wedding, Jesus further declares marriage to be holy and honorable (Heb 13:4*); therefore, this passage is read at Orthodox weddings, and these images are incorporated into many prayers in the wedding service.
  • Here is an example of Mary’s gift of intercession. Even now, Mary continually speaks to her Son on our behalf and is our preeminent intercessor before His Throne. This is declared in the words of an Orthodox prayer: “The intercessions of a mother have great effect to win the favor of the Master.” This is confirmed as Jesus grants her request here.
  • In this passage, wine is symbolic of life, and thus there are two levels of meaning to Mary’s statement, “They have no wine”: (1) a marriage is not complete without the presence of Christ; and (2) the old covenant was unable to bestow life even on the most faithful people.

(*Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.)

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