We made it! After crossing several oceans and the Swiss & Italian Alps, we landed in Tel Aviv to connect with Victor, to meet our tan bus family for the next 8 days, and to head cross country for our first few nights.
(Alps from the air as captured by Julia)
If you’re driving along the road between Tiberias and Tel Aviv heading toward the Sea of Galilee and look way way way over to your right you’ll see a set of Golden Arches perched miles away up a hill. To be perfectly honest everywhere I go I see McDonalds. The chain’s founder, Ray Kroc, would be delighted. Hamburgers for all; and although I remain uncertain I bet you can’t get that disgusting McRib in Israel. It is, among other things, unkosher. This particular McDonalds just happens to be in Cana. Yes, that same Cana of Galilee where Biblical history records Jesus having performed his first miracle. Rather than stopping our tour group cruised by rapidly racing toward our Tiberias hotel.
(We were so far away I couldn’t snap images; these are Google’s)
This is exactly what happened on my first trip. Thus, I was really excited to see Cana on an itinerary I read in preparation for today.
As luck would have it, or lack thereof, the same thing happened today. Guess who clicked on the wrong tour? (Brian Barger: I contemplated taking an Israeli Uber back over, but then I remembered that article you e-mailed me. I’m not even sure they have Uber in Israel, but I’ll get back to you on that ‘cause going to the mall later).
We didn’t get to go to Cana…the wedding site…where He turned water into wine! I had been hassling my wife: No, Thaedra, they would not miraculously have shown us how to turn Deer Park into Cake Bread or Rombauer Chardonnay. And even though she wouldn’t say it back to me she’s thinking: Honey, you’re weren’t going to see anybody turn water into Maker’s Mark (we are, afterall, traveling with the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist).
I love a great party…hosting one and attending one. The wedding party chronicled in Cana may be the most epic, enduring and discussed party in history. Can you imagine being there? Can you imagine being the father of the bride? After preparing for who knows how long to join your daughter to her betrothed while your neighbors watched and judged every social move you made. And then, the unthinkable happens. You run out of wine. Yep, the bar is dry … and the wedding singer is still going strong (what in the world must that have sounded like in first century life…I’m thinking Adam Sandler’s character strumming a lute in ancient middle Eastern garb—-really bad imagery).
Among my group of friends we crack up and goof off often. Fishing, card games, fire pits, monthly prayer group, dinners with our wives, and plenty of good times are characterized by many toasts & cheers. You can bet someone ALWAYS throws in the perfectly timed humor and quick witted “Dilly Dilly” made famous by the prolific Bud Light tv commercials. If, by chance, you are not familiar with these, then you probably didn’t watch the Super Bowl earlier this month or any television in the last six months. You need to YouTube them——it means you need a quick lesson in pop culture and to get out a little. If you don’t know what YouTube is, then please seek help from the nearest teenager or millennial (quite seriously).
It just so happened that among the guests at this wedding in Cana were Mary and Jesus. Now there’s a guest list for you…top that! As the scripture goes Christ’s first miracle was turning multiple large cisterns of water into wine. The result was fine wine, too, not the lower quality wine guests would customarily have expected toward the end of a wedding banquet maybe after their senses were dulled from overindulging already. Jesus made certain that not only could the host provide quality wine through the main part of the wedding party, but He provided the best wine for last. As importantly, people took notice and talked about it.
The story, found in John 2:1-12, reveals the same truth: a Life of faith in Christ offers us the best a along the way culminating in His loving salvation in the end. Just like the wine didn’t run out, the love and life God offers, like the wine at the wedding, are abundant.
Here’s to the hosts who extend hospitality, here’s to the partiers in Cana, here’s to Jesus for extending His grace & love through His first miracle, here’s to the people who realized what He did – and still accept His gift, talk about it, and share it with the people around them today. I remains something to celebrate and something to recognize. To this I give a resounding Dilly Dilly!
Interesting Fact: it is historical, sanitation, and health care fact that ancient people used wine and other low grade alcohol to purify their water. It was the only practical way they had to kill bacteria. When boiling water was not an option as little as a 2% of a vessel’s volume and sometimes more, included alcohol for it’s antiseptic properties. Likely, people developed an “immu