“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples, he ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; He washes his garments in wine and his robes in the blood grapes.
“And in that day the mountains will drip with new wine and the hills will flow with milk. And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the Lord to water the house of the Lord.”
“When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory and hid disciples believed in him.
Christianity is about abundance – wine upon wine, blessing upon blessing. God promises this even as early as Genesis 49. A ruler from the line of Judah will come and usher in an age of such abundance that people will be able to wash their robes in the blood of grapes. What makes this promise filled with grace is the history of Israel – more specifically their failure to live up to their calling. In other words, God blessing is not conditional; Israel’s faithlessness will not thwart God’s faithfulness. So we read in Joel in the context of judgment, there will still be restoration. The brooks of Judah will flow with water and the mountains will drip with new wine.
When we approach the New Testament the one greater than David arrives on the scene, as the eternal king. His first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding feast. This miracle or sign signified to those who knew the Hebrew Scriptures that a new age was about to commence. The Lord was at hand making all things new. Abundance was now a present reality. As we follow the New Testament further Jesus would continue to bless people. He would offer true food and true drink to quench eternal thirst.
The irony of all of this can be seen in the penultimate act of Jesus. In his death, the Lord of eternal water would thirst and the Lord of wine would be made to drink vinegar. In a word, he would become sin and take the punishment of people upon himself to grant life, true water, and the choicest of wine to his people. His depravation is our gain, our water, and our wine.
The Christian life, then, is one that is abundant in so far as we are reminded that what we need most we have in Christ. There is peace, comfort, security, thankfulness, and joy. This point needs to be stressed, because too many people leave Christianity to seek abundance and happiness. What they are doing when they do this is drinking cups of sand. In time, thirst comes back with a vengeance. The solution is to remember what Christ has done for his people, to be filled and intoxicated with his love and his Spirit.