“Where are you going with all this stuff about water and wine?” It might be tempting to ask.
The question, “What is your point?” Might be hovering around.
The reason I suspect that you might want to be saying those things is because there is something in me—Vosh—that is wanting to ask the same questions.
But those are questions of the hiker, not the explorer.
I think it will be fruitful to explore some connections. I am not trying to construct a formal argument. I’m not suggesting that this is an iron-clad, deductively sound doctrine.
That kind-of thing, a hiker’s mentality, a goal-oriented mentality, a desire to construct arguments… It might be equated to a revered symphony. The goal is in sight. The emphais is on doing it in the way it’s always been done.
What I’m up to is more like jazz. Beginning with a riff and seeing where it takes us. This is not an efficient process. In our rushed society it can be hard to slow down enough to take these sorts of journeys. But I believe they are so worth the time we invest.
So bare with me: if water is a metaphor for what our lives are at their worst, then wine, I’d submit, is a metaphor for what our lives are at their best.
The fact that we long for more than we have says some things about us. The intensity with which we long for it, this says some things too.
Not of all of the things that our longing says about us are things to be proud of. There is the implication that we’re spoiled and whiney, for example.
But there is something else about the fact that we have this belief that things are not the way that they were meant to be. And while this maybe isn’t something to be proud of, it certainly isn’t something to be ashamed of, either.
We have this feeling that we were made for something more! Have you ever stopped and thought about that? I’m not saying that the fact of our longing must mean we have a right to more. I’m wondering why we feel this way at all. When we watch the news and watch the terrible unfairness, the rampant unjustness. When we end a long, thankless day, so very bone-weary, but so far from soul satisfied. When we do the right thing, and then get burned for it.
We know it’s not supposed to be that way.
On the other hand, there are times when everything just falls into place. Some times it’s not something we even can put words to, or explain why. Often times we chase after recreating these times, losing track of the fact that the spontaneity is what made it so amazing in the first place.
We get this sense, some times, that this is how things are supposed to be.
This is different than greed, entitlement, and materialism. When life is not good, it is like water. And when it at it’s best, it is like wine.
During our very most peak moments, we get these glimpses of the way things are always supposed to be. This is what Jesus is about: turning the occasional into the consistent, promising us a return to the life we were made for.