Weddings in this culture generally lasted for an entire week, and the groom’s family was expected to be able to feed all of the guests. If the groom’s family were to run out of wine, they would bring a great deal of shame upon themselves. Jesus’ mother Mary does not want shame to befall the groom’s family, and so she brings the problem to her eldest son. She has learned to trust in her son’s resourcefulness.
Jesus gently rebukes his mother for her request, and says that his “hour has not yet come.” The “hour” that Jesus is talking about is his time of death and exaltation.
Mary listens to Jesus’ rebuke, and she humbly tells the servants to do whatever he tells them to do. She has committed the matter to him and trusts in him. He tells the servants to fill six large jars with water, and then turns the water into wine, about 450-700 liters of wine (120-180 gallons) in all. This miracle signals the beginning of the Messianic age, in which “the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it” (Amos 9:13). The sheer quantity of wine that Jesus provides signals the abundance that is to characterize this new age.
Yet, not only is there a lot of wine, it is very good wine. Normally, hosts would give their guests the best wine first, and thereby impressing their guests. The lesser-quality wine was saved for later, when many of the guests would be less able to judge the quality of the wine, since they would be somewhat inebriated. The master of the feast judged this wine to be a very high-quality wine. The old Jewish order and customs, symbolized by the jugs of water for ceremonial washings, are being replaced with something far better, symbolized by Jesus’ good wine, for “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16)
This miracle, like all of Jesus’ miracles, was not just a display of power, but was intended to bring about faith in him. The servants saw the miracle, but did not understand Jesus’ glory. The disciples saw the same thing, perceived his glory, and believed.