What does John 2:6 mean?
ESV: Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
NIV: Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
NASB: Now there were six stone waterpots standing there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing two or three measures each.
CSB: Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons.
NLT: Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons.
KJV: And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Verse Commentary:
Turning water into wine was the first of John's seven signs (miracles) proving Jesus' divinity. The water jars were used for ritual purification, holding around 25 gallons each. Six is the biblical number of man, and of imperfection. Seven is the "perfect" number, the number of God. So, this miracle is not only a kind gift to the bride and groom. It is also a powerful metaphor for Jesus' role as Savior. Wine is a common biblical symbol of blood. Jesus transformed water, meant for ritual cleansing, into wine, representing blood. In a symbolic way, this miracle mirrors how Jesus' sacrifice transformed the rituals of the law into the gospel of grace.

According to John 2:11, this was the first miracle Jesus had ever performed. Later verses will explain that only the servants, Mary, and the disciples would have known about the event. True miracles are always a message from God, and this miracle is meant to teach the new disciples about Jesus.
Verse Context:
John 2:1–12 describes Jesus’ first miracle, which is turning water into wine at a wedding. This miracle was very quiet, known only to a few people. Changing water, meant for purification, into wine, symbolic of blood, is a reference to Jesus’ role as Messiah. Instead of rituals, we are purified by the miraculous blood of Christ. John specifically uses the Greek word semeion, or “sign,” for these miracles, since they are meant to prove that Jesus is God. This is the first of seven such signs in the gospel of John.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus attends a wedding where He performs His first miracle: turning water into wine. This is symbolic of His transformation of human rituals into divine sacrifice. Few people are even aware that a miracle has occurred. Jesus then drives crooked businessmen out of the temple, scolding them for turning a sacred place into a market place.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 2 begins to show Jesus’ “signs,” or miracles, which will prove that He is the Savior. The miracles will grow more and more spectacular, but they start quietly. Contrast is an important part of the gospel of John. The quiet, joyful miracle at the wedding is very different from the loud public spectacle of clearing the temple. Jesus’ first miracle symbolizes His mission. During the temple clearing, He also predicts His death and resurrection.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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