Water to Wine
by Bob Burridge ©2015
More than just a chemical miracle!
The First Miracle of Jesus
The first miracle Jesus performed took place in Cana, a town in a remote region of Galilee. He, his mother, and his disciples attended a wedding there. The account is recorded in John 2:1-12.
When they ran out of wine, Jesus told them to fill six stone waterpots with water. There are different ideas about how much water each one contained. We can’t be sure how the ancient measurement compares with our modern units used to measure liquids. The text says they each contained two or three “metraetas” (μετρητάς) of water. One commentator said the word was used by the Jews to describe the size of a ceremonial bath. He calculated that these pots would each have contained between 9 and 13.5 gallons. Others have suggested slightly different values. By every estimate the six stone waterpots together contained at least 54 or more gallons of water. Some estimated the total amount may have been as much as 180 gallons. When Jesus turned the water into wine, it was a large scale miracle, far more than a glass or two.
When the master of the feast tasted it without knowing where it came from, he commented how unusual it was to keep the better wine for last. It wasn’t just wine, it was good wine.
More than a Chemical Miracle
The transformation of water into wine was more of a miracle than most appreciate. Water is a molecule made up of two Hydrogen atoms bonded with one Oxygen atom. Wine is made up of many kinds of large complex molecules made up of many different atoms. It Contains Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, and small amounts of other basic elements. The number of different compounds in wine has been estimated to be from 800 to 1000.
The miracle was more than just a chemical change of rearranging atoms into different molecules. It involved creating new atoms, or changing some of the existing atoms into totally different elements. This would mean it was a large scale nuclear event.
Just looking at the three primary kinds of atoms in wine we can appreciate the magnitude of what took place that day in Cana. Oxygen is made up of 8 protons, 8 electrons, and in it’s primary isotope 8 neutrons. The basic isotope of Hydrogen is just one proton and on electron. Carbon (which is not present in pure water) has 6 protons and electrons with 6 neutrons in it’s most abundant isotope.
To form these Carbon atoms out of water the nucleus of many existing atoms would have to be transformed with protons and neutrons bonding together in different configurations. The energy needed or released from nuclear transformations like that on that large a scale would have exceeded the energy in a powerful nuclear warhead. It would have leveled all of Cana and the surrounding territories. But the record shows that no one noticed anything until the head server tasted the water which had been changed into wine. A miracle? One of enormous and dramatic proportions!
The Hand of the Creator
This was not hard for the God by whom all things were made (John 1:3). Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”
Jesus is no one less than the Creator of all things, the Sovereign ruler of the universe who had come to minister salvation to his people. He could call new matter into existence by his own infinite power without having to use the natural means of nuclear transformations, or the transformation of physical energy into new particles of matter.
The Purpose of the miracle was to promote the glory of Jesus.
John 2:11, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”
By this amazing transforming of matter in Cana of Galilee, the glory of our Savior was displayed dramatically. His disciples believed in him.
The details of the wedding and wedding party are conspicuously missing. We aren’t told who was getting married, or the details of how Jesus was related to them. God’s account here through John wasn’t concerned with minute historical details. The purpose was to show the glory and power of Jesus Christ, who was God in human flesh.
The Greek word translated as “sign” in verse 11 is “saemeion” (σημεῖον). It’s something which points to something else. It’s a term John often used in his writings. Miracles are signs that point to something important about our Lord and his Kingdom. The miracles were not done to impress people, or to relieve suffering in the world. They were demonstrations authenticating that God was at work and that his message should be believed.
This first miracle used a simple human problem to illustrate a profound divine truth. The guests at that wedding, and the wedding party, saw supernatural proof that Jesus is our Sovereign Creator, Lord of all the Universe. All things obey him.
It tells us here that when they saw this, his disciples believed in him. The Holy Spirit confirmed to their redeemed minds that what they had just witnessed was an act of God. Jesus, was no mere man. He was both God and man, the Third Person of the Trinity living in a real human body to represent and rescue his people from among the lost human race.
Jesus Christ, who is infinite in his power, is our Covenant Lord. Do we live day to day with a proper appreciation for who our Savior is? When we pray to God the Father through Jesus the Messiah, do we realize that we are speaking with the Creator and Sustainer of everything that is and ever was?
There is no promise that God will transform our water into wine, or raise up our deceased loved ones. He has already done those things to prove his power, and to confirm his gospel promises. Therefore the supernatural signs are not needed today. But God’s continuing promises and providential control of daily circumstances never end. He has promised to care for us, comfort us, and favorably strengthen us as we face the crises that trouble us during our time here on earth.
The same God who transformed water into wine at the wedding in Cana hears and answers our prayers according to what he in his wisdom knows is best. More amazingly than transforming atoms and molecules, he transforms lost people into redeemed children to forever be blessed as part of the Family of God.
Note: Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.