And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
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Cornelius a Lapide
There were set, &c. Christ then made use of these water-pots that it might be the more clearly evident that they had no wine in them; and so the turning the water into wine in such vessels might be the more conspicuous.
Purification: by which the Jews according to their traditions were accustomed at their feasts to wash their hands, if they happened to touch anything unclean at the table. (See S. Mark 7:3.)
Tropologically, S. Bernard expounds thus (Serm1in Domin1 , post. Oct. Epiph.): The six waterpots are the six purifying virtues of the soul. "The first waterpot, and the first cleansing, is in compunction, of which we read, that in the very hour in which the sinner shall groan, I will no more remember all their iniquities. The second is confession; for all things are washed by confession. The third is the giving of alms; for we read in the Gospel, "Give alms, and behold all things are clean unto you." The fourth, forgiveness of injuries; for we say when we pray, "Forgive us our deb...
Two or three measures, called metreta. Both the Latin and Greek text, by the derivation, may signify a measure in general, according to the Rhemish translation: but metreta was a particular measure of liquids: yet, not corresponding to our firkins, I could not think it proper with the Protestant and M. N. to put two or three firkins. (Witham)
It is not without a reason that the Evangelist says, After the manner of the purifying of the Jews, but in order that none of the unbelievers might suspect that lees having been left in the vessels, and water having been poured upon and mixed with them, a very weak wine had been made. Therefore he says, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, to show that those vessels were never receptacles for wine. For because Palestine is a country with but little water, and brooks and fountains were not everywhere to be found, they always used to fill waterpots with water, so that they might not have to hasten to the rivers if at any time they were defiled, but might have the means of purification at hand.
And why was it, that He did not the miracle before they filled them, which would have been more marvelous by far? For it is one thing to change given matter to a different quality, and another to create matter out of nothing. The latter would indeed have been more wonderful, but would no...