Sing: Fill My Cup, Lord, UMH 641
Jesus’ first two miracles, according to the Gospel of John, were performed in the village of Cana in the region of Galilee. Because we had gotten such an early start today it was only mid-morning when we finished touring the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Saint Joseph. We boarded our bus and took a short ride three miles back up the ridge we had driven to get to Nazareth to the city of Kfar Kanna, an Arab town of the Northern District of Isarael.
We made our way through the winding streets to the Franciscan Church of Cana. The Franciscans have been at this site since mid-17th century and excavations here have revealed buildings dating to the 1st century AD and the remains of an ancient church. This site commemorates the first miracle of Jesus: turning water into wine at a wedding feast. Jesus had six large stone jars filled with water and when the steward of the feast was called he found that they were filled with wine.
Many people view this miracle as Jesus giving his blessing to the institution of marriage, even though he never got married himself. They also see his blessing extending to the observation of celebrations for special occasions. And, perhaps lastly, they see this miracle as Jesus giving his blessing to the drinking of alcoholic beverages for purposes other than the purification of water.
Within sight of the Franciscan church is the Greek Orthodox Church of the Marriage Feast. The Orthodox site claims to have two of the original six stone jars. As with many other sites in the Holy Land there is more than one location with a legitimate claim. Many archeologists consider that these two sites in Kfar Kanna have less of a claim than the ruins at Khirbet Qana, about nine miles northwest of Kfar Kanna, as the site of Biblical Cana.
The second miracle of Jesus in Cana was the remote healing of the son of an official who lived in Capernaum and had come to Cana looking for Jesus. This miracle establishes the efficacy of Jesus’ healing powers at a distance. This is good news for those of us who so often feel like we are all alone and that no one, including Jesus, is near to us. This is also a sign of hope for us in our time of social distancing. The power of our faith is not limited by the proximity of our fellowship. In other words, we can effectively pray for and be with each other from a distance.
Keep the faith, my friends!