Sarcophagus with Scenes from Scripture: Detail, two miracles of Jesus

330 A.D.
Musée Réattu, Arles, France

On the left, Jesus changes water into wine (John 2:1-11). At his right, the chief steward remarks on the quality of the wine. Below, five diminutive vessels represent the six large jars mentioned in the text. Judging from the bend in Jesus' damaged right arm, he was probably pointing a staff at the jars, as is the case in other sarcophagi.

The panel on the right pictures the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as related in John 6:5-13. The episode is in the other gospels, but only in John does Andrew present a boy who has five loaves and two fish, which Jesus will multiply into food for five thousand men. This is what we see here on Jesus' left. Behind his right shoulder is Philip, who had thought feeding the five thousand would be impossible.

The Eucharist is suggested by the juxtaposition of these two miracles, one producing wine and the other bread.

Read more about the miracle at Cana.
Read more about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

Source: Wikimedia Commons