Powered by Fr. Abraham Mutholath Foundation NFP



The first miracle of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel of John, was the transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana, prompted by His mother Mary (Jn 2:1-11). This miraculous event raises the question: Was Jesus, along with Mary, endorsing the consumption of wine?

Different Meanings of Wine in the Bible

1. Joy and Celebration

Wine holds a significant place in Jewish culture, symbolizing joy, celebration, and divine blessing. It was a common element in meals and festive occasions. In 2 Maccabees 15:39, it is noted that wine mixed with water makes a delightful drink, highlighting its role in enhancing communal joy. The Bible also references unfermented grape juice, as seen in Isaiah 65:8, which was used by children during the Passover meal.

2. Healthy Drink

In ancient times, the lack of purified water often led to the consumption of wine mixed with water to prevent illness. Paul advised Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach and frequent ailments (1 Tim 5:23). Modern science supports this, suggesting that red wine in moderation can promote digestive health by providing beneficial probiotics. Wine’s antiseptic properties made it a safer alternative to plain water, and its moderate consumption was seen as beneficial for health.

3. Drunkenness is a Sin

While wine is celebrated, excessive consumption is condemned. Paul warned against drunkenness, equating it with debauchery (Eph 5:18). The Bible recounts the story of Noah, whose drunkenness led to disgrace (Gen 9:20-21), and Proverbs 20:1 cautions against the folly of intoxication. Drunkenness leads to moral degradation and health issues, and Paul warns that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:10).

4. God’s Blessing

An abundance of wine is often depicted as a sign of God’s blessing and prosperity. Isaac blessed Jacob with the wish for abundant grain and wine (Gen 27:28). The promised land was described as flowing with wine, symbolizing divine favor (Deut 7:13). Proverbs 3:9-10 encourages honoring God with wealth, promising overflowing vats of new wine as a reward. The Messianic age is depicted as a time of overflowing wine (Am 9:13-14).

5. Part of Offerings to God

Wine was an integral part of offerings in the Temple. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought out bread and wine when he met Abram (Gen 14:17-18). Daily offerings in the Temple included wine, signifying its sacred role (Ex 29:39-41; Lev 23:13; Num 15:4-7).

6. Part of Medical Treatment

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus illustrated the use of wine as a disinfectant for wounds (Lk 10:34). This highlights its medicinal value in ancient times.

7. Used for Passover Meal

Jesus used wine during the Last Supper, a Passover meal, establishing the Holy Eucharist. The Pharisees and scribes accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard because He drank wine (Lk 7:33-34), underscoring its common use in Jewish rituals.

8. Sufferings of Life

Jesus used the metaphor of drinking a cup to signify the sufferings He and His followers would endure (Mt 20:22). In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed for the cup of suffering to pass from Him, yet submitted to God’s will (Lk 22:42-43).

9. Represented the Holy Spirit

Jesus likened the new Kingdom guided by the Holy Spirit to new wine, emphasizing the transformative power of the Spirit (Mt 9:17). On Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, leading some to mistakenly think they were drunk (Acts 2:15-17).

Catholic Teachings on Wine

The Catholic Church teaches that alcohol, including wine, is acceptable in moderation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns drunkenness and the abuse of alcohol: “The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine” (CCC 2290). Wine is seen as a gift from God, to be enjoyed responsibly and with gratitude. Overindulgence and addiction to alcohol are viewed as offenses against the virtue of temperance.


Jesus’ miracle at Cana was not an endorsement of excessive drinking but a demonstration of His divine power and concern for human joy. As Christians, we are called to use God’s gifts wisely. Wine, when consumed in moderation, can be a source of joy and a reminder of God’s blessings. It is also a profound symbol in the Holy Eucharist, representing the blood of Christ.

Mary and Jesus were aware of the Biblical warnings on over-drinking of wine. However, they knew the spiritual implications of abundant wine. So, at the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ intention was not to promote alcohol consumption. Mary’s concern was to save the reputation of the host for lack of popular health drink at the banquet. Jesus manifested his glory by serving the best and abundant wine. The disciples were amazed and believed in Jesus. “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him” (Jn 2:11).

We can use or misuse God’s creations and His provisions for good or bad. Jesus used wine in moderation for the Passover meal and established the Holy Eucharist using wine to transform it into His blood. Let us assure self-control in our lives and desire for spiritual joy by keeping in communion with the Holy Spirit that we have received at our baptism. Let us strive for self-control and seek spiritual joy through communion with the Holy Spirit, living out our faith with gratitude and moderation.

©Bibleinterpretation.org. All Rights Reserved 2024