Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday of the First Week in Lent

Psalm 41Deuteronomy 8:11-18Hebrews 2:11-18John 2:1-12

Water into wine? How does one turn H2O into C2H6O? In the chemical sense, it’s the addition of carbon and a multiplication of hydrogen molecules. I rather doubt Jesus the man was a scientist or even an alchemist—but as the Scriptures say, with God all things are possible.

It is not an easy miracle to explain to the scientific mind. Others, such as causing the blind to see, the mute to talk, the lame to walk or even casting out demons, have plausible explanations. Stress can cause temporary blindness and loss of speech, a blocked nerve can result in lameness, and as much as we love stories of possession, what the ancients referred to as demons were often a chemical or organic imbalance in the brain of the afflicted.

This story is only in John, not in the other gospels, so perhaps John is just being his usual mystical self. I think it may be an allegory about the Last Supper and the Eucharist.

Jesus, being God, knows what he is to do; he’s just not ready to go public with it. His mother, faithful in her belief in his powers, asks him to help out, since they probably have imbibed as much as all guests and neither wants to see the party end so soon. But instead of providing a jug or two, he calls for more than a hundred gallons of water to be brought to him. That’s abundance. And he makes it into better wine than what had been served. That’s what I call a cheerful giver. He even let the bridegroom take credit for providing the good wine.

Instead of turning water into blood as he did in Exodus 7:19, God turns the water into fine wine, much like the wine he shared with his disciples at his final meal, asking them to share it with others in memory of him. The blood sacrifice of the Old Testament is replaced with wine, the remembrance of the blood our Lord gave for us all.

— Lori Korleski Richardson

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