Once upon a time, a kindly, Christian neighbor of mine told me that drinking wine was forbidden by Jesus.
“Forbidden?” I asked. Had she gotten that quite right?
“Forbidden,” she said. “Well forbidden except for special occasions. That’s okay.”
But in Jesus’ day, people drank wine for supper. Daily. No?
I thought this, but I didn’t ask this.
I’ve read the Bible, but if you want to challenge someone on their thoughts on Jesus, you’d better have the thing memorized. I didn’t want to humiliate myself.
But she wouldn’t let it go.
She said, “My pastor’s wife says you can drink it occasionally, but always and only with food.”
Well, obviously. I had already read that in the book French Women Don’t Get Fat.
“Wasn’t Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine?” Had I just said that out loud? Idiot!
She smiled at me, patronizing. Her face saying: Yes. Yes you are an idiot. Instead, she said, “Oh yes, but that’s because the water back then was so bad!”
I’d heard this before. I’d heard this since seventh grade Sunday school when Matt DeLuca was brave enough to raise his hand and ask the teachers why we had grape juice in church when Jesus’ gang all drank wine. Their answer was the water business and being tweens, we let it drop.
Now, I didn’t let it drop.
“Look, don’t you think Jesus could’ve filled those jugs at that wedding with whatever He wished?” I asked my neighbor.
“Of course. Of course, darling,” she said. “His Mama asked Him to do something special. It was to reveal His glory! People put their faith in Him!”
“Right,” I said. “But just to be clear, He didn’t turn that water into better water.”