Lesson 1:
The Principle of Life—To Change Death into Life

Bible reading
You may find it helpful to also read the entire case found in John 2:1-11.

John 2:1a, 10-11
1a And the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee…
10 And said to him, Every man sets out the good wine first, and when they have drunk freely, then that which is worse; you have kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of signs Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed into Him.


The Bible is a book of life, and this life is the wonderful, living person of Jesus Christ (John 1:4; 10:10; 6:35). God desires that all people would receive the divine, eternal life of Christ that can meet the need of every man and accomplish God’s purpose. When Jesus attended a wedding in Cana and turned the water into wine, He was not just performing a miracle. This was the “beginning of signs.” This first and great sign in John chapter 2 established the principle of life. The principle of life is to change death into life.

Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson.

When I first heard the story of Jesus’ changing water into wine, I did not know the meaning behind this event. Later I came to understand that this was not simply a story, but an event accomplished by the Lord Jesus to establish the principle of life. What is the principle of life? The principle of life is to change death into life. (Life-study of John, msg. 6, section 1)

What does the wedding signify? It signifies the enjoyment and pleasure of human life…The marriage feast, whether in ancient times or in the present, whether in the East or in the West, depends primarily on wine, which typifies that all human pleasure depends on life…Wine signifies life, for the wine of the grapes is the life of the grapes. Thus, the enjoyment of man depends upon the life of man. When life is brought to an end, all enjoyment is gone.

The wine, which was the center of the enjoyment of the wedding feast, ran out (John 2:3). This signifies that the enjoyment of human life will be terminated when human life runs out…Regardless of how much pleasure you are enjoying, when your human life is ended, all your human enjoyment is also gone. Regardless of how good your wife, your husband, your parents, your children, or your job may be, if your life has come to an end, your pleasure is gone.

When the Lord came into the world, He came into a situation where human enjoyment existed, but was not lasting. He came into a situation where the death of human life terminates all human enjoyment…When our wine is about to run out, we know that our marriage feast will soon be over. But, praise the Lord, it is at such a time that the Lord comes into our situation. In our marriage feast we have the Lord! We need not be afraid, for He can change the water into wine. (Life-study of John, msg. 6, section 3)

The Lord’s miraculously changing water into wine signifies that He changes our death into life…Even as the ruler of the feast discovered that the new wine is better than the former wine (John 2:9-10), so we too shall find that the life we receive through regeneration is much better than our natural life…The first life, the human, created one, is an inferior life; the best life is the second life, the divine and everlasting one. This life is the best because it is the life of God Himself in Christ…A new marriage feast began when we were saved, and it will never end. There is always joy within and there is always a marriage feast within because we have the divine wine, which is the divine life—the Lord Himself. (Life-study of John, msg. 6, section 4)

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Going deeper
Please read or listen to these materials for an in-depth study of this lesson. 

Further reading:
Radio broadcast link:
Broadcast 11, Life’s Principle
(Click the link above and select Broadcast 11) 
Footnotes from Recovery Version of the New Testament:
John 2:11, footnotes 1-2
John 3:15, footnote 1
1 John 1:2, footnote 3

Questions for personal or corporate study:
References in parentheses indicate readings or broadcasts that may be helpful in answering the questions.
  • How do the record and focus of the Gospel of John differ from the other gospel accounts? (Life-study of John, msg. 6, section 1)
  • What is the principle of life revealed in the sign of Jesus changing water into wine? (Life-study of John, msg. 6, sections 2-5)
  • Identify and describe the allegorical significances of the third day, Cana, water, the six waterpots, and the wine. (Radio broadcast 11)
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Next week

The Need of the Moral—Life’s Regenerating

All the miracles that Jesus performed were signs with special meaning and spiritual significance. The very first sign He did established the principle of all the other signs and miracles and the principle of the divine life itself—it changes death into life. The next nine chapters in John relate carefully selected cases out of countless lives Jesus touched to show how Christ as life can meet the need of every condition, situation, and type of person. Next week we will see the first case—that of a moral, educated man named Nicodemus. He thought he needed more teaching, but he was helped to see that he actually needed to receive the divine life of God. This is what we call regeneration.

We highly recommend using the printed Life-study messages as a tool to explore this lesson. There are over 1,900 Life-study messages in total, and this amazing resource expands and develops this lesson in greater detail.

View Life-study of the Bible resources on our website
Works Cited

Lee, Witness. Life-study of John. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1985.

All verses and excerpts © 2021 Living Stream Ministry.
Used by permission. Reproduction is prohibited. 
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