John 2:1-12

John 2:1-12
A Women’s Lectionary – Fifth Sunday after Epiphany A


On the thirdA dayB there wasC a weddingD

Notes on verse 1a

A “third” = tritos. From treis (three). This is third.
B “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
C “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.
D “wedding” = gamos. 16x in NT. This is a wedding, whether the ceremony, the feast, or the marriage itself.

in CanaE of Galilee,F and the motherG of JesusH wasI there. 

Notes on verse 1b

E “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.”
F “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.
G “mother” = meter. This is mother in a literal or figurative sense.
H “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.
I “was” = eimi. This is to be or exist.

Jesus and his disciplesJ had also been invitedK to the wedding. When the wineL gave out,M the mother of Jesus said to him, “They haveN no wine.” 

Notes on verses 2-3

J “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.
K “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.
L “wine” = oinos. Perhaps from Hebrew yayin (wine; root means to effervesce). This is wine. It is where the word “oenophile” comes from.
M “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.
N “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, or possess.

And Jesus said to her, “Woman,O what concern is that to you and to me? My hourP has not yet come.”Q 

5 His mother said to the servants,R “DoS whatever he tells you.” 

Notes on verses 4-5

O “woman” = gune. Related to “was” in v1. Perhaps from ginomai (see note C above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
P “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
Q “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.
R “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.”
S “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.

Now standingT there were sixU stoneV water jarsW for the JewishX rites of purification,Y

Notes on verse 6a

T “standing” = keimai. This is to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined. It is to lie down literally or figuratively.
U “six” = hex. 13x in NT. This is six. It is part of where “hexagon” comes from.
V “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.
W “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.
X “Jewish” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Juadas); 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.
Y “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 holdingZ twentyAA or thirtyBB gallons.CC 

Notes on verse 6b

Z “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.
AA “twenty” = duo. Literally, “two.” This is two or both.
BB “thirty” = treis. Literally, “three.” Related to “third” in v1. See note A above.
CC “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, “FillDD the jars with water.”EE And they filled them up to the brim.FF He said to them, “Now draw some out,GG and takeHH it to the chief steward.”II So they took it. 

Notes on verses 7-8

DD “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.
EE “water” = hudor. Related to “water jars” in v6. See note W above.
FF “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.
GG “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.
HH “take” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
II “chief steward” = 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 A 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.

9 When the steward tastedJJ the water that had becomeKK wine, and did not knowLL where it cameMM from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward calledNN the bridegroomOO

Notes on verse 9

JJ “tasted” = geuomai. 15x in NT. This is to taste, which implies eating. It can be used figuratively to mean experience, whether positively or negatively.
KK “become” = ginomai. Same as “was” in v1. See note C above.
LL “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.
MM “came” = eimi. Same as “was” in v1. See note I above.
NN “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.
OO “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 simple to marry); related to numphon (the room where the marriage bed is). This is bridegroom in a literal or figurative sense.

10 and said to him, “EveryonePP servesQQ the goodRR wine first,SS

Notes on verse 10a

PP “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.
QQ “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.
RR “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.
SS “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.

and then the inferiorTT wine after the guests have become drunk.UU But you have keptVV the good wine until now.” 

Notes on verse 10b

TT “inferior” = elasson. 4x in NT. From the same as elachistos (smallest or littlest in the sense of size, amount, rank, dignity, and so on); from elachus (short); used as a superlative for mikros (small). This is smaller, worse, younger, lesser quality.
UU “become drunk” = methuo. 6x in NT. From methu (wine) OR from methe (drunkenness, an intoxicant). This is to drink freely, be drunk.
VV “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 figuratively 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 firstWW of his signs,XX in Cana of Galilee, and revealedYY his glory;ZZ and his disciples believedAAA in him.

Notes on verse 11

WW “first” = arche. Related to “chief steward” in v8. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (see note II 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.
XX “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.
YY “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 NN 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.
ZZ “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.
AAA “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.

12 After this he went downBBB to CapernaumCCC with his mother, his brothers,DDD and his disciples; and they remainedEEE there a fewFFF days.

Notes on verse 12

BBB “went down” = katabaino. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + baino (to walk, go). This is to come down whether from the sky to the ground or from higher ground to lower. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
CCC “Capernaum” = Kapernaoum. 16x in NT. From Hebrew kaphar (village with walls); {from the same as kephir (a young lion, village); from kaphar (to appease, cover, pacify, cancel)} + Nachum (Nahum, “comfortable”); {from nacham (a strong breath or sigh; to be sorry, to pity, console, comfort, or repent; also to comfort oneself with thoughts of vengeance)}. This is Capernaum, meaning “Nahum’s village.”
DDD “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
EEE “remained” = meno. This is to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure. It can mean to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition or to continue with hope and expectation.
FFF “a few” = ou + polus. Literally, “not many.” Polus is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.

Image credit: “The Second Mystery of Light” at Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Tullow, County Carlow, Ireland. Photo by Andreas F. Borchert.

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