6.And there were there six water-pots of stone. According to the computation of Budaeus, we infer that these water-pots were very large; for as the metreta (48) (
μετρητὴς) contains twenty congii, each contained, at least, a Sextier of this country. (49) Christ supplied them, therefore, with a great abundance of wine, as much as would be sufficient for a banquet to a hundred and fifty men. Besides, both the number and the size of the water-pots serve to prove the truth of the miracle. If there had been only two or three jars, many might have suspected that they had been brought from some other place. If in one vessel only the water had been changed into wine, the certainty of the miracle would not have been so obvious, or so well ascertained. It is not, therefore, without a good reason that the Evangelist mentions the number of the water-pots, and states how much they contained.
It arose from superstition that vessels so numerous and so large were placed there. They had the ceremony of washing, indeed, prescribed to them by the Law of God; but as the world is prone to excess in outward matters, the Jews, not satisfied with the simplicity which God had enjoined, amused themselves with continual washings; and as superstition is ambitious, they undoubtedly served the purpose of display, as we see at the present day in Popery, that every thing which is said to belong to the worship of God is arranged for pure display. There was, then, a twofold error: that without the command of God, they engaged in a superfluous ceremony of their own invention; and next, that, under the pretense of religion, ambition reigned amidst that display. Some Popish scoundrels have manifested an amazing degree of wickedness, when they had the effrontery to say that they had among their relics those water-pots with which Christ performed this miracle in Cana, and exhibited some of them, (50) which, first, are of small size, and, next, are unequal in size. And in the present day, when the light of the Gospel shines so clearly around us, they are not ashamed to practice those tricks, which certainly is not to deceive by enchantments, but daringly to mock men as if they were blind; and the world, which does not perceive such gross mockery, is evidently bewitched by Satan.
(48) The exact size of the firkin cannot be easily ascertained. If
μετρητὴς be here used by the Evangelist as a purely Greek word, we must conclude it to be an Attic measure, which was nearly equal to nine English gallons. If, again, it be placed here as a substitute for the Hebrew word
בת, (Bath,) as the Septuagint has done in 2Ch_4:5, it will probably be rated at seven gallons and a half. — Ed
(49) “De ce pays de Savoye;” — “ this country, Savoy.”
(50) “Qu’ avoyent entre leurs reliques de ces cruches, esquelles Christ avoit fait ce miracle en Cana, et en monstroyent.”