When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:9-11
I finally have a hobby! I’d always said my hobby was reading. Then, one year, I followed the lead of someone in my family who made wine from kits, and I was hooked. I found my hobby! Four years later, it’s grown to me being a member in a club (Thanks, Ken!) as well as attempting to make wine on my own. It’s been a wonderful experience and has really filled my heart with wonder at the metaphorical aspects of wine making as it relates to my faith.
While today’s winemaking involves many aspects of chemistry I wasn’t aware of, when this miracle happened, things were different. I’d always been told (and believed) the wine mentioned in the Bible was only juice, like juice purchased off the grocery shelf. Since I began making wine, I’ve found that’s just not true. Grapes have natural yeasts on their skin, almost begging to get to sugar in the fruit. Once the skin is broken, it begins fermenting the sugars into alcohol and CO2. In Jesus’ time, they didn’t have a way to preserve the wine, so wine eventually turned to vinegar. Unlike today, where older wine takes precedence, they believed the newer the wine, the better. Like me, they didn’t like drinking vinegar.
Our journey to Jesus and his presence begins with renewal. This doesn’t mean we get a new body right off, but rather a new relationship with our Savior. This new relationship could be full of abundance. This is a descriptive word that has been hijacked by some circles to mean a life on earth that is abundant in wealth and prosperity. Nothing could be further from the truth! Our relationship with Jesus is abundant as in the gifts of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22). Wealth and prosperity may come our way, but not as our primary goal in faith.
As you listen to the song “New Wine,” contemplate what an abundant life means to you. What would it be if surrender was your desire? As the song brings out the process of winemaking (crushing and pressing), perhaps new perspective will flood you, maybe as a metaphor for our life in Christ. In considering this, and the freedoms illuminated in the gospels and song regarding your surrender, perhaps you’ll begin to see a different view on abundant life.
By Rich Obrecht