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May 3

“He Turned the Water Into Wine:” Johnny Cash’s Song About the First Miracle

The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, once again proved that he is a great storyteller.

With his song “He Turned the Water Into Wine,” Johnny Cash tells a good narrative of what had transpired in his tour in Israel. It happened back in 1968 with his wife, June Carter.

johnny cash
via Screen frame from Youtube

Behind Johnny Cash’s Classic Gospel Hit

The song is under the singer’s 31st overall album At San QuentinThe album was recorded live at the San Quentin State Prison in 1969.

In his concert at San Quentin, the music legend had this to say about the song:

“We went into the little town of Canaan just over the hills from Nazareth and there’s a church that sits over the cistern where the water came from that Christ turned to wine, where the first miracle was performed. We went into the church, saw the cisterns; you can hear the sounds of the water in there, hear the echo. I was so impressed when I came out of the church. If I ever had an inspiration I had one then from seeing what I had just seen and heard.”

And so on the way to Tiberius in his car, he wrote the song.

johnny cash
via Screengrab from Youtube

Lyrics Breakdown

He fed the hungry multitude.
He turned the water into wine.
He did, just a carpenter from Nazareth,
He turned the water into wine

Johnny Cash didn’t disappoint us when it came to making country gospel music. His songs always narrate a good story about his experiences in his life.

Being a country outlaw singer, you would not expect him to also excel in country gospel music, but he did. In this song, specifically, he turned his experience in Israel into a song.

He drew inspiration from what he had seen in that church and reminisced the first miracle that the Lord performed.

Listen to the song here:


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he turned water into wine, Johnny Cash, San Quentin State Prison


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