The 6 Water Pots of Stone

by Tony Warren


    In a recent discussion the question came up about what the number six represented in the scriptures, and specifically as it relates to the six water pots of stone (John 2:6)". My answer is that it doesn't matter what I think, what matters is what the scripture have to say about it. For the interpretation of scripture is not found in the thoughts of men, but in the thoughts of God, and those thoughts are written in the scriptures themselves. Interpretations belong to God (Gen. 40:8, 41:16), therefore if one's comprehension of scripture is not validated by God's Word itself, then we have not come to the real knowledge of what is written.

Over the years there have been quite a few ideas about the number six, but in most cases there is simply no scripture that would clearly validate the ideas. An example is the common belief that the number six is the number of man. But where is the biblical validation for saying this? The proponents of this position argue that since man was made on the sixth day, this justifies such a stand. But using logic like this, we'd have to also conclude that the number six is the number of cattle, because God also created cattle on the sixth day. Or would we say the number five is the number of fish because God created them on the fifth day? Clearly, this is the flimsiest of justification upon which to build a perspective.

Using sound Biblical hermeneutics means that we must have some solid biblical reference before we conclude that a number indicates a certain thing. And there is no such Biblical reference with the theory of the number six being the number of man. Quite the contrary, when we look at the number six throughout scripture, it most often deals with the application of, or length of time of, "work" in the world. Studying the scriptures carefully, I have come to conclude that the number six ultimately identifies with work itself, or our time of work as we sojourn in the world on our way to the Sabbath of rest.

From the very beginning God has used the number six to illustrate a period of work, as God Himself records He worked 6 days and then rested on the seventh.

Genesis 1:31

  • "And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2:1-2

  • Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
  • And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made."

God did all his work, made Heaven and earth and all that is therein in six days, resting on the seventh. The Number six is used here to signify the total period of time that God worked before He rested. The days are the units of that time. The illustration is six, for working. And just as God worked for six days, He also uses that as an example to man who is commanded to work the same.

Exodus 20:9

  • "six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy Work:
  • but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord Thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
  • for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."

The "six" was the length of time that God assigned Himself "to work" to create the world, and it is the length of time He assigned to Man to work in this world. That is an important fact! And this signification for the number bears itself out consistently, as it's not only illustrated in six days, but is applied in years as well. For example, as we read that God had made a Covenant with the children of Israel, and that bondmen were to serve for six years. Yet on the 7th, were to be set free.

Jeremiah 34:13

  • "...I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, at the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee..."

Again the emphasis is on the working for the length of time illustrated by the number "six," and on the seventh, man being set at liberty (free). God doesn't do these things by mere coincidence, these are spiritual guides which teach us about the number. The number seven illustrates the totality of it (see the study on numbers in scripture) while the number six is the part of the seven designated "for work".

This number is illustrated in far too many places of scripture showing work in the world to simply be a coincidence. It often signifies work on this earth before we enter into our Sabbath of rest, which is the Lord. We work in this world the six, and then we enter into our Sabbath of Rest on the seventh. This is not idle speculation, but backed up in the scriptures as God Himself illustrates that we are in fact "laboring to enter into His rest", and He uses the seventh day Sabbath as a picture of that rest. Now, of course, ultimately we enter into that rest the moment that we become Saved because our works were accomplished before the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3) in Christ. But those works are "worked out" in our lives. Christians labor in the world bringing the gospel, because Christ has finished the work for us by His death on the Cross. That's why we read of Paul's exhortation:

Hebrews 4:11

  • "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after that same example of unbelief."

This is also seen in verses like,

Revelation 14:13

  • "..Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

You see, the Sabbath (7) is equated with our rest from works (6). Again as when Jesus gave the parable of the sower in the field. It was a picture of our laboring in the world. Is it coincidence that Israel was commanded literally to sow in the field six years, and rest on the seventh? Of course not, it was part of God's magnificent salvation program, and a marvelous spiritual picture.

Exodus 23:10

  • "And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor and the needy shall eat."

Again, the seventh year is a cessation of work, that the poor and needy eat. Spiritual truths indicating in Christ (the sabbath) shall the poor and needy eat. These are the continual illustrations by God that the number six used to signify the time of work we do in the world. Sometimes the meaning of the number is less conspicuous. For example in a verse like Ezekiel 46:1 when talking about the Sanctuary,

Ezekiel 46:1

  • "Thus saith the Lord God; the gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened."

Again, the six "working," and the opening of the gate to the Sanctuary on the Sabbath. Again, Spiritual pictures. i.e., no one can get in the Sanctuary except on the Sabbath (Christ) of Rest, the cessation of works!

1st Kings 10:19

  • "The Throne had six steps, and the top of the throne round behind:...."

If we weren't Christians we might think that God just arbitrarily picked the number six here just because six steps to the throne is a nice round number. But being Christian we understand that God's ways are not our ways and that there is more to be gleaned from scripture than we can learn in a lifetime. There is a reason God says there are six steps to the throne. The six steps are a signification of something, and blessed are those who God gives the knowledge to discern it. For it is our walk to God in Christ! There are many, many verses like this to show that the number "six" is often illustrative of the time of our walk, or work in the world. At the end of that "six" (work) is our rest.

Deuteronomy 16:8

 

  • "Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord Thy God: thou shalt do no work therein."

This indeed is the prevailing illustration of the number six in scripture. It's the time that God has assigned in the world for work. Whether it be us, or God Himself. The six is illustrative of work.

 

 

This Illustration in the Six water Pots

    And taking what we've learned and going back to John 2:6 and the miracle of the six water pots of Stone, we can begin to see how this number relates to this verse.

John 2:6

  • "And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece."

The signification of this is the work of Christ in making men pure. Notice the number six with relationship to this work of the purifying water. Following the scriptures carefully we see the picture painted for us here is clearly that the water was for the "purifying of the Jews," and God uses this to demonstrate that the jews will be cleansed by the work of Christ. Without the work of the water from the stone, there would be no purification of the Jews. Note also, the pots that hold the water are carefully identified as "stone" jars or pots signifying that Christ is the Stone "from which" the purifying water must come. There is no other stone that Israel can be purified from, other than the work of Christ. This all the picture of Christ and His work of purification for the Jews.

Just as the saving water for the children of Israel came from the stone as they were forty years in the wilderness. They had no water, and so we read that the Rock was smitten that they might have water. Do you see the Spiritual correlation here?

Exodus 17:6

 

  • "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the Rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the Rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink..."

 

"..the Old Testament Concealed, is the New Testament Revealed!"

That is a faithful axiom. Some may have read this verse of Exodus and thought that this indeed is curious language, a Rock being smitten and water coming out? But it's not curious at all because God has set it up as a Spiritual picture for us to learn from. A Prophesy that Christ is that Rock that was smitten "for the Children of God" that they might have the sustaining water of Life. He is the Stone from which the Saving water which purifies must come from. Just as Israel was Saved by the smiting of this rock, we were Saved by the smiting of the Rock which is Christ. But don't take my word for it. Get it directly from the scriptures. 1st Corinthians talking about this episode of the smiting of the Rock in the wilderness says,

1st Corinthians 10:4

  • "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

And so again, it's not idle speculation, God's Word confirms it. This is the Rock that the water of Salvation comes from. And that is why these jars in John are meticulously pointed out as being stone. Because it's from Christ, the stone, that this water of purification for the Jews comes from. Six Stone water pots because it's by the "work" of Christ that the Jews will have this purifying water. This is the illustration in the number six. In Exodus, the picture of work was put forth in the fact that the stone had to be "smitten" in order that water would come forth. That's what Christ did for the Children of God. He was smitten of God for their sins that they might be purified and made perfect in Him. Christ's work that in being smitten that we might enter into the Sabbath of Rest.

Isaiah 53:4

  • "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."

As the Rock in the wilderness was smitten for life saving water, so Christ, the Rock was smitten that we might have the living Waters. We discern from this that the waters came forth because Christ was smitten. The six water pots of stone illustrate the work required for the purifying water to have Power. The power thereof, was in the blood of Christ.

 

 

Water into Wine

    We can understand the six signifying work, we can understand the stone jars of purifying water for the Jews, but many puzzle over why Jesus turns the water in these six stone pots into wine. The answer to that question is, wine in the scriptures is used to symbolize blood. And it's Jesus' shed Blood that will be the work required to give power to the purifying water. Without the shedding of blood, there is no purifying.

Hebrews 9:22

  • "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission".

Without the Blood, there is no Purification of the Jews! That purifying water had to be by the blood of Christ! For without the shedding of blood, there is no real purification of the jews. The Covenant with the Jews had to be confirmed (made strong) by the empowerment of Christ's shed Blood. Consider wisely,

Hebrews 9:16-18

  • "For where a Covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the covenantor,
  • for a Covenant is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no Strength at all while the Covenantor liveth.
  • Whereupon neither the First Covenant was dedicated without Blood".

It is the blood of Christ which gave that Covenant with Israel it's strength, and there would be no purification of the Jews without it! His Blood is the only thing that could truly purify them, and the turning the water to wine was symbolizing that Christ had to die for them to be made clean.

Wine throughout scripture is used as a signification of blood. For example,

Revelation 14:20

  • "And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even to the horses bridles..."

Or in the signification of the great Harlot made drunken by the blood of the Saints in Revelation 17. By the language of made drunken by the blood, God is again equating blood with wine. Again, in Isaiah 63:2-3 where we read of the garments of Him stained in the winepress with blood. Or again this signification in,

Isaiah 49:26

  • "And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine..."

And on and on wine is used in the Bible to signify blood, and that is what is being seen in the book of John. In point of fact, that is exactly the same signification we use when we celebrate the Communion service. We use wine as a sign of the shed blood of Christ. What did Christ tell us about the wine of Communion?

Matthew 26:27

  • "And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, drink ye all of it; For this is my Blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom."

Clearly, the wine is a symbol of the blood of Christ that cleanses us from sin (purification). And that's why the water from the stone was turned to wine. It was to symbolize that the work of Christ had to include the shedding of blood for the purifying. Six stone jars not by coincidence, but God ordained and indicating the fullness of the work of Christ by which the Jews are purified. And without the turning of the water to wine, without the shedding of Christ's blood (remember, the stone jars represent Christ), there is no cleansing, no purifying, no remission of sins. Likewise, when Christ was crucified,

John 19:34

  • "But one of the solders with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water."

1st John 5:6

  • "This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood."

So you see, this is the significance of the six stone pots of purifying water, made wine. Christ is the stone jars coming with the purifying water, but in order for it to work, He had to die, He had to shed blood. Not by water alone, but by water, and the blood. The purifying water from the stone is only because He was smitten for our sins, and shed His blood for us. Only then do we have the wine of communion which represents His purification of us.

 

 

Christ's first miracle, a miracle of Creation!

    We have seen that these things are illustrating the work of Christ in shedding His blood, that we might be made purified. When we celebrate by breaking bread in the communion, we do that in remembrance of the work of His broken body on the cross. And it is no coincidence that we are told this is Christ's "First" miracle!

John 2:11

  • "This BEGINNING of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him."

This was the First Miracle. And it's no coincidence that it is mirroring the six days of Creation. That was also the beginning of Miracles. Think about this, the Work of Christ in creation, mirroring the work of God in creation. Six stone jars signifying His work that we enter into the sabbath of Rest. Likewise, six days God worked and rested on the sabbath. We can understand it perfectly, for in the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God, and all things were created by Him. This first sign of Creation mirrors God's first creation.

Normally it takes years to make a fine wine such as Christ did. But Jesus simply spoke and it was instantly so. Six Stone water pots instantly filled with the blood of Christ to purify all who would drink of it. The carnal man says that's impossible because fine wine takes years to create! As they likewise say the world took billions of years to create, and it's impossible that God Created it in "six" literal days instantly and merely with His Word. But likewise, this was the beginning of miracles manifesting His Glory! God creates age instantly with simply a Word, because, He is God, not a man! He doesn't need years to create and age the finest wine as some would suppose, and likewise He doesn't need billions of years to create the world as some Theologians today, brainwashed by humanism and modernism, suppose.

  ..he that hath ears to hear, let him hear!

 

 

Christ's Response to Mary about the Wine!

Have you ever been puzzled by why, when His mother asked for the wine, Jesus replied,

John 2:4

  • "...Woman, what hath I to do with thee? Mine Hour is not yet come."

It was because Christ's time had not yet come to go to the Cross and give the wine, which is His blood. Many think this was a curious statement, or harsh statement, but it's only curious until we realize that He is finishing off this spiritual picture saying that it was not yet His Hour to shed His blood, which the wine represented.

John 6:53-54

  • "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
  • Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day".

This is the wine which was not yet ready, for it was not yet Christ's hour to go to the cross. It was not yet time for the true wine to come forth. Mary was asking for literal wine for the people of the marriage, But Jesus was talking about the wine which was His shed blood, for the marriage of the Lamb. Consider similar language which also illustrates this,

John 7:10

  • "Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His Hour was not yet come."

John 8:20

 

  • "These Words spake Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the Temple: and no man laid hands on Him; for His Hour was not yet come."

This was Jesus's hour that had not come yet. In all three of these verses (John 2:4, 7:10, 8:20) we have the same language illustrating the hour when He would shed His Blood had not yet come. That's why in John 2:4 Jesus said this to Mary. He was talking about the wine of the communion! His Shed Blood.

I've heard theologians give all kinds of wild reasons why Jesus said this, but they do not understand that Jesus spoke in parables. It's not unlike those who asked about the Temple being raised up in 3 days. They too were talking about the literal temple, but Christ was talking about the Temple of His body. Even the disciples didn't understand this until after He was risen (John 2:22). God is magnificent in the putting forth of His Word. It's by the Holy Spirit of God that we discern that these things are True. Jesus said that to Mary because He was illustrating a spiritual picture about when His Blood would be shed, as the wine for the people. Not because He was irritated or cross (as some have surmised). So many times we lose sight of what God is truly saying because we simply read scripture in a worldly way, not understanding the Bible is a spiritual book. We must study it and listen to it to find out what God is really saying. Scripture tells us, Jesus spoke in parables, and without a parable, He did not speak (mark 4:34). We simply do not fully understand that God conceals things to His Glory, and we, (Like The honorable Bereans) must search them out. Today's Christians seem to avoid Bible study like the Plague! They most often say something like, "..I'll understand it when I get to heaven" or parrot some other cliche. What ever happened to, "Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet?" How can His Word Guide us, if we relegate it to a few verses before bedtime? My, My, how would those Bereans have fared, had they taken the attitude of the Churches today? When Paul spoke to them of things they did not understand, they would have simply walked away saying, "..I guess we'll understand what is true by and by". But these more noble Bereans understood a great many things that the Churches today seem to have forgotten. Their First Love! So they consulted His Word, and in return received His praise. We find out secrets by His Spirit, in study of the Word.

The Six water pots of stone with the Purifying water turned to wine, is a magnificent example of the treasures that God has hidden in His Holy Word, that the more noble, who receive God's Word with all readiness of mind, would search out.

Proverbs 25:2

  • "It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of Kings is to search out a matter."

....He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. May the Gracious Lord give us all Wisdom and Understanding in the Study of His holy Word.

 


The Christian Counter
The Christian Counter