Wedding Feast at Cana
17/January/2010 Filed in: Jottings
I have sometimes wondered what the wine at Cana was like. The palate of faith assumes that it outdid the finest Falernian, whatever that tasted like. Was it drunk, as the wines of Galicia were drunk in my youth, from a wide and spreading cup, shaped rather like the drinking bowls one sees on Attic vases? Was it poured from a great height to aerate it a little before it foamed in the bowl, as the apple wines and ciders of Asturias are poured? Presumably, it was mixed with water, because in the Classical world it was a sign of brutish behaviour to drink one's wine unmixed like the Persians. Was it red or white, or that strange tawny colour which is neither one nor the other? Did it smell of the vineyards of Engedi, so beloved of the Song of Songs, or had it a fragrance impossible to define, flavoured with herbs we would never use today? Was it, like most wines before the twentieth century, low in alcohol? In short, a wine like none that we have ever known, any more than the wedding guests at Cana long ago?
So many questions, so many distractions. One should never be afraid of allowing one's distractions a moment or two of freedom now and then. They have a way of making the stories of the gospel come alive with a freshness and vigour they might not have if we always insist on viewing them through our "scriptural spectacles" . Mooching around the water-jars, metaphorically speaking, I cannot help but hear the quiet insistence of Mary's "Do whatever he tells you." That is a command directed at you and me today, not just the servants of two thousand years ago.