‘So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee’, John 4. 46
The Arab village of Kafr Cana (or Kefr Kenna) in the Lower Galilee is identified in Christian tradition as Cana of the Galilee. It was officially recognized by the Vatican in the seventeenth century and is the place to which most tours of Israel are taken. However, an alternative site, Khirbet Qana, lies some eight miles northwest of Nazareth and twelve miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It is high on a hill overlooking the Bet Netofa valley. Tom McCollough, Biblical Archaeology Review, describes it as ‘a modest, well-connected Jewish village in the Hellenistic and Roman periods’, circa 323 BC to AD 324, with its identity ‘confirmed by the discovery of a Roman-period synagogue’. Some of the debate over the specific location can be found in Marcus Dods, The Gospel of John, and elsewhere.
Our verse details the Lord’s second visit to Cana. It is of note, then, that the place should be associated with the first and second miracles. Whilst the Gospels contain many examples of the Lord’s healing power, this one stands out from them all. Luke records the incident of the centurion’s servant who was healed at a distance but this one is different because the distance from Cana of Galilee to Capernaum was almost twenty miles. That explains why the nobleman took so long on his journey, vv. 51, 52. This miracle attests the Lord’s sovereign power and control over disease, irrespective of distance or other seemingly adverse circumstances. It is also a testimony to the blessing that comes through the nobleman’s faith, ‘himself believed, and his whole house’, v. 53.
However, although John gives us the detail of the geography of the Lord’s journeys and activities, he omits the names of the recipients of the miracles. Whose wedding was it, John 2? What is the name of the man by the pool of Bethesda in chapter 5? We do not know. But John does tell us, ‘these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’, 20. 31. The focus is upon Christ. As the Baptist, said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’, 3. 30.