John 2:1-11

John 2:1-11
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 28


On the thirdI dayII there wasIII a weddingIV

Notes on verse 1a

I “third” = tritos. From treis (three). This is third.
II “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
III “was” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
IV “wedding” = gamos. 16x in NT. This is a wedding, whether the ceremony, the feast, or the marriage itself.

in CanaV of Galilee,VI and the motherVII of JesusVIII wasIX there. 

Notes on verse 1b

V “Cana” = Kana. 4x in NT. Perhaps from Hebrew qaneh (reed, branch, measuring rod); perhaps from qanah (to get, buy, redeem, create, possess). This is Cana, meaning “reed.”
VI “Galilee” = Galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, circuit, district); from galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is Galilee, meaning perhaps region or cylinder.
VII “mother” = meter. This is mother in a literal or figurative sense.
VIII “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
IX “was” = eimi. This is to be, exist.

Jesus and his disciplesX had also been invitedXI to the wedding. When the wineXII

Notes on verses 2-3a

X “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
XI “invited” = kaleo. Related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud.
XII “wine” = oinos. Perhaps from Hebrew yayin (wine; root means to effervesce). This is wine. It is where the word “oenophile” comes from.

gave out,XIII the mother of Jesus saidXIV to him, “They haveXV no wine.” 

Notes on verse 3b

XIII “gave out” = hustereo. 16x in NT– same verb used by the rich young man when he asks Jesus what do I still lack? (Mt 19:20); used in the parable of the prodigal son to describe him as impoverished (Lk 15:14); used when the wine ran out at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:3); all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23); used in describing the body of Christ – that we give greater honor to the inferior member (1 Cor 12:24). From husteros (last, later). This is to fall behind, come late, be interior, suffer need, be left out., to fail to meet a goal.
XIV “said” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
XV “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.

And Jesus said to her, “Woman,XVI what concern is that to me and to you? My hourXVII has not yet come.”XVIII 

His mother said to the servants,XIX “DoXX whatever he tellsXXI you.” 

Notes on verses 4-5

XVI “woman” = gune. Related to “was” in v1. Perhaps from ginomai (see note III above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
XVII “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
XVIII “come” = heko. This is to come or arrive as at a final destination or goal. It can also mean being present in a literal or figurative sense.
XIX “servants” = diakonos. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is a servant, minister, waiter, or attendant. It is used for a person who performs a service, including religious service. This is the root of the word “deacon.”
XX “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XXI “tells” = lego. Same as “said” in v3. See note XIV above.

Now standingXXII there were sixXXIII stoneXXIV water jarsXXV for the JewishXXVI rites of purification,XXVII

Notes on verse 6a

XXII “standing” = keimai. This is to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined. It is to lie down literally or figuratively.
XXIII “six” = hex. 13x in NT. This is six. It is part of where “hexagon” comes from.
XXIV “stone” = lithinos. 3x in NT. From lithos (stone literal of figurative). This is stony or made from stone. It is used of stone jars, tablets, or idols made of stone.
XXV “water jars” = hudria. 3x in NT. From hudor (water literal or figurative); perhaps from huetos (rain); from huo (to rain). This is a water jar or pitcher.
XXVI “Jewish” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
XXVII “purification” = katharismos. 7x in NT. From katharizo (to cleanse, make clean, purify, purge, or declare to be clean; includes cleansing in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense); from katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying). This is cleansing or purification. It can be used in a literal, ritual, or moral sense.

each holdingXXVIII twentyXXIX or thirtyXXX gallons.XXXI 

Notes on verse 6b

XXVIII “holding” = choreo. 10x in NT. From choros (a particular space or place); from chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is to leave in order to make room or space. It can also be to advance, receive, accept, or make progress. Figuratively, it can also refer to being open-hearted.
XXIX “twenty” = duo. This is two or both.
XXX “thirty” = treis. Related to “third” in v1. See note I above.
XXXI “gallons” = metretes. 1x in NT. From metreo (to measure, estimate, allot according to a standard); from metron (a measure, whether of distance or volume; a tool for measuring or the measure itself; figuratively, that which determines what is sufficient). This is a measure, amphora – a measure for liquids. It is about 8.75 gallons.

Jesus said to them, “FillXXXII the jars with water.”XXXIII And they filled them up to the brim.XXXIV 

Notes on verse 7

XXXII “fill” = gemizo. 8x in NT. From gemo (to be full, swell, at capacity, actions taken to fulfill a goal). This is to fill up or load, be swamped as a boat with water.
XXXIII “water” = hudor. Related to “water jars” in v6. See note XXV above.
XXXIV “brim” = ano. 9x in NT. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew). This is literally up, upward, to the brim. Figuratively, it can refer to things above, i.e. of the heavens.

He said to them, “Now draw some out,XXXV and takeXXXVI it to the person in charge of the banquet.”XXXVII So they took it. 

Notes on verse 8

XXXV “draw…out” = antleo. 4x in NT– all in the wedding at Cana (John 2) & the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). From antlos (ship’s hold; waste water in a ship’s hold). This is to bail out, draw water from a well with a bucket or pitcher.
XXXVI “take” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXVII “person in charge of the banquet” = architriklinos. Related to “third” in v1 & “thirty” in v6. 3x in NT. From archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power) + triklinos (a dining area with three couches used for eating); {from treis (see note I above) + klino (to slant, rest, recline, approach an end, wear; to bend in a literal or figurative sense – to lay down, a day ending, causing an opposing army to flee)}. This is chief steward or master of ceremonies at a banquet.

When the person in charge tastedXXXVIII the water that had becomeXXXIX wine and did not knowXL where it cameXLI from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew),

Notes on verse 9a

XXXVIII “tasted” = geuomai. 15x in NT. This is to taste, which implies eating. It can be used figuratively to mean experience, whether positively or negatively.
XXXIX “become” = ginomai. Same as “was” in v1. See note III above.
XL “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
XLI “came” = eimi. Same as “was” in v1. See note IX above.

that person calledXLII the bridegroomXLIII 10 and said to him, “EveryoneXLIV servesXLV

Notes on verses 9b-10a

XLII “called” = phoneo. From phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.
XLIII “bridegroom” = numphios. 16x in NT. From numphe (bride, daughter-in-law, young wife, or young woman); perhaps from nupto (to put on a veil as a bride does – in Latin nupto means simply to marry); related to numphon (the room where the marriage bed is). This is bridegroom in a literal or figurative sense.
XLIV “everyone” = pas + anthropos. Pas is all or every. Anthropos is probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
XLV “serves” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.

the goodXLVI wine firstXLVII and then the inferiorXLVIII wine after the guests have become drunk.XLIX But you have keptL the good wine until now.” 

Notes on verse 10b

XLVI “good” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
XLVII “first” = proton. From protos (what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief); from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is firstly, before, in the beginning, formerly.
XLVIII “inferior” = elasson. 4x in NT. This is smaller, worse, younger, lesser quality.
XLIX “become drunk” = methuo. 6x in NT. From methu (wine) OR from methe (drunkenness, an intoxicant). This is to drink freely, be drunk.
L “kept” = tereo. From teros (a guard or a watch that guards keep); perhaps related to theoreo (gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning; looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means; the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning); from theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy). This is to guard, observe, keep, maintain, or preserve. It can also be used f iguratively for spiritual watchfulness. It is guarding something from being lost or harmed – keeping an eye on it. Contrast the Greek phulasso, which is to guard something so that it doesn’t escape. Also contrast koustodia, which generally denotes a fortress or military presence. This word can mean fulfilling commands, keeping in custody, or maintaining. It can also figuratively mean to remain unmarried.

11 Jesus did this, the firstLI of his signs,LII in Cana of Galilee and revealedLIII his glory,LIV and his disciples believedLV in him.

Notes on verse 11

LI “first” = arche. Related to “person in charge of the banquet” in v8. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (see note XXXVII above). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.
LII “signs” = semeion. From the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); from sema (a sign or mark). It is literally a sign of any kind. It also refers to a sign given by God to confirm or authenticate a message or prophecy. It is not necessarily miraculous, but it can be. The Gospel of John generally uses this word instead of miracle.
LIII “revealed” = phaneroo. Related to “called” in v9. From phaneros (visible, apparent, clear, shining); from phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (see note XLII above); from the same as phaino (see note XLII above). This is to make visible or clear, to make known. Properly, it is to illumine and so to make apparent or bring into open view.
LIV “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
LV “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.

Image credit: “The Wedding of Cana” by James Ensor, 1913.

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