My student from years ago sent me a verse she had scribbled on her Sunday bulletin about the Gospel for that day: changing the water into wine. I always enjoy encountering her pithy poetic efforts and this one made me dream.
That very night, in the night visions, I was there in Cana. “I did not know you could do that, Jesus,” I said. Jesus did not respond. In my dream, he just sat on the steps and stroked a donkey’s neck with a blank stare. “How did you do that?” The query was bound to come. “I am the Lord, your God,” he finally replied.
“I know,” I said, “but give me some science here. I did not see any flashes or churning. The water was water and then it was wine. Did you speed up time for fermentation and where did the grapes come from? That is good stuff.”
“You have your answer, Danny, and it is enough. My mother loves the family and my friends and I were kind of afterthoughts on the invitation list so her request was not terribly out of line. She knew what I could do because at home I kept a supply of the best in Nazareth. Joseph couldn’t even drink that vinegary stuff at the tavern. He developed the finest palate. A phrase comes to mind—the connoisseur carpenter. He wasn’t surprised when he hit Heaven with its racks of awesome reds.”
I leaned against the donkey and murmured, “Lord, will you keep me stocked?”
“Take no thought for the morrow, friend, just know your needs are ever satisfied. Don’t follow me because of matter but because of things that matter. Get it?”
“I think so. By ‘matter’ in the first sense you mean ‘things’ and the second ‘matter’ means inward and eternal significance.” You know how dreams are. I think that’s what I said.
“Thou hast judged rightly, Daniel.”
“Wait a minute, why are you suddenly getting all rabbinic with me? Here we are petting Balaam the Donkey and you get all formal.” Jesus laughed in replying, “What is the matter? What matters is not matter as in material, even though what falls away will be restored. Take, for example wine. When you drink it, where does it go and what does it do? It goes through your system and out, somewhat modified, as you get the good out of it. What it does is something else again, in that it gladdens the heart if taken in aright. So it is with life. Our experiences go through life but they positively modify lives if filtered through the divine will. Without superseding that will and without rushing ahead of the God-prompts, your heart is gladdened to that state of gladness that will be sustained here and maintained forever.”
“Is that one of your parables?”
“Remember, I turn plain water into wine.”