You cannot put new wine into old wineskins.

Friday, 8/5/14

Our Lord’s old caution against putting new wine into old wine skins could apply to the need for making fresh starts in many areas. Like, he might have been saying his fresh teachings could not be fit into the aged Judaic religion.

Putting aside the many circumstances in which we might apply his advice, we can make it more forceful if we have experienced the homey wisdom or foolishness behind his advice. I mean, we will see the foolishness of using the old wine skins if we have brought disaster on ourselves by trying to put new wine into old skins.

I have one of my old Korean stories in which I tried something like that. Our town  held a market on every fifth day, and folks would tell me when something unusual was brought in for sale. I once bought a kitten that way, and more than once I bought wax from the hives of wild bees.

Once Joanna, our cook, said someone from the hills had collected loads of wild grapes, and no one was buying them. So, Joanna and I filled a tub with wild grapes, dancing on them like in the movies, and storing the juice in a urn big enough for a man to hide in. What we had looked like a mixture of blood and mud, but wheeling the urn out into the shed, we tied a cloth over the lid.

Removing the cloth three weeks later, we bumped heads trying to see into the urn. Seeing nothing, we brought up a chili-dipper of it, and we found it to be a clear ruby wine.  Down to the market again, we bought twenty corks and bottles into which we ladled the wine, storing the bottles under my cot.

One night a week later the wine came to full fermentation. It began firing the corks into my underside for an experience that showed me just what Jesus had meant.

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