Wait … how many bottles?

May 1, 2020

Scripture Readings

Okay, did I read that right? It says that Jesus turned six water-jars that held 20-30 gallons apiece into wine. So, low estimate, we’re talking about 120 gallons of vino, right there. Just over 600 bottles! I hope no one was driving.

I make wine. Do you have any idea what it takes to make 600 bottles of wine? I’d be at it 2-3 years to match Jesus’ single-day total.

Sorry if I dwell on this. As a vintner, it’s impressive. Even I don’t have that many bottles in the ol’ Schnellar Cellar right now, and I’ve got a couple extra kits on the go for—you guessed it—someone’s wedding. But I’m impressed by something else too: Jesus’ first miracle was an extravagantly generous, non-essential gift, intended to spread joy.

It was a serious social faux pas in this culture to run out of party-fuel mid-wedding. Yeah, weddings went on for seven days, and maybe some folks weren’t as temperate as others, but you were ex-pected to budget for that. But … embarrassment isn’t exactly life-threatening. We’re used to Jesus feeding the hungry, healing the sick and disabled: conditions that need to be relieved. 

Why make the first revelation of Jesus’ glory a non-essential (could we even say frivolous?) miracle? Perhaps it’s a small thing to be embarrassed by running out of wine in front of the community, but do you worry about small things? I do. A tragic amount of my time is spent worrying about small things. I wish it were otherwise. Now, the lesson isn’t, “We don’t need to worry about small things; God will fix them with miracles.” But it is encouraging to see that God knows about these small things. He knows that our lives are made up of these small moments. He understands. He cares.

I’m also delighted that I have a fun God. I don’t know why people conjure a stoic, serious Jesus, be-cause he’s not in the scriptures. Our God is one of extravagant generosity and joy. Wine was, and still is, a symbol of joy and celebration. And our God did not say, “Wine’s gone? Here’s enough so each person can have a sip to toast the bride.” No. More like, “Here’s 600 bottles; keep the change.” He’s abundantly generous when pouring out the joy. I want to be like that. So when I make wine for wed-dings, yeah, there’s always plenty to spare.


Adam Schnell

Lover of Leap Years; writer of dramas; connoisseur of sauces