Short Meditations in John 4: 44. Another Need
Jn 4:46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.
Later in John Jesus says, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.” (Jn 5:19) and the implication has to be that the Father in heaven initiates all things and Jesus follows and does them. Thus when we find that “once more he visited Cana in Galilee” it was not a casual thing, but a heaven-directed thing for the Father saw and knew the situation there are knew the possibilities for the outworking of the kingdom there.
Already we have noted that Jesus was welcomed by the Galileans because some of them had been in Jerusalem and had seen the healing miracles he performed there, but now he comes back to Cana which is significant because it had been “where he had turned the water into wine.” Put the two things together and we have the potential for faith to be stirred. There is from the word go here, an expectation. The miracle working aspects of Jesus’ ministry are brought to the fore. What will now happen?
The obvious question to ask in the light of these things is what need is there in Cana that Jesus has come to meet or, to put it another way round, whose faith is likely to be stirred to start something off? And John gives us the answer: “there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum” We don’t know anything more about this man but these two things. First, he is a royal official, probably from Herod’s court. Such people can often be proud and haughty but when confronted by personal need, pride gets put aside, for the second thing we are told about him is that his “son lay sick at Capernaum.”
Now there are two things that follow from this. First, we’ll see in the next verse, this sickness meant his son was close to death. Which father will remain unmoved when his son is close to death. This man is moved to seek out Jesus. Now note the second thing which is easy to forget – his home is in Capernaum which is a number of miles away from Cana. Now what is strange is that if Jesus had come to Cana to perform his healing ministry we would have assumed that he would come to someone who lived in Cana but that isn’t so. No, this man and his family live a number of miles away and so when he hears Jesus has returned to Galilee and gone to Cana, he makes his way there. Something very significant is going to happen here and it is all to do with the distance Cana is from Capernaum. It seems God wants to make a specific point and it is to do with distance, which is why Jesus goes to Cana and not Capernaum.