The Wedding at Cana and How Jesus Turned Water into Beer (not wine)
The modern-day Bible is a translated hand-me-down of an ancient text. It has been translated and re-translated countless times over the centuries. The oldest Bible texts were written in Aramaic, the common language of the Middle East during Jesus’ time. Scholars who have studied the ancient text suggest that Jesus actually turned water into beer, not wine.
The original Aramaic text talks about “strong drink” and “lines of ale vats”. But what other evidence is there to support the claim that Jesus’ miracle actually involved making beer?
First of all, grains were the principle crops in the Middle East. Grapes were rare. It is logical to assume that the “strong drink” mentioned in the ancient Aramaic text was indeed beer, which is made largely from grain.
Historians also know that during Jesus’ time Egypt was exporting a significant amount of beer to the entire Mediterranean region. There’s no evidence that anyone was exporting wine on any kind of large scale.
Further supporting the idea of Jesus making beer are other ancient texts which have revealed that in the Middle East beer was the common “strong drink” for at least a thousand years before Jesus ever came on the scene. The Hymn to Ninkasi is one such text, dating back to 1800 BC. In conclusion, beer was common and wine was a rare, practically non-existent delicacy.
Lost in Translation
When the Bible was translated, centuries after Jesus had ascended to the throne of heaven, “strong drink” was replaced by “wine.” At that time, beer was considered the commoner’s drink, while wine was considered an upscale beverage reserved for the elite. At the time of translation, wine was savored during fine meals by the culturally enlightened. Beer was swilled by ignorant peasants. Historical accuracy was sacrificed because ignorant peasants were not doing the translating. Christianity, once the considered the peoples’ religion and the salvation of the meek had been transformed into something considerably more highfalutin.
Translators wanted to suggest that Jesus would only offer the best to his friends and family. That’s why they interpreted “strong drink” to mean wine. Everything else we know about the man suggests that Jesus would not have been so pretentious.
Imagine you’re at a wedding and they run out of beer. The groom asks you to make a beer run. You gladly oblige. You return with three cases of Japanese sake. Not likely.
Jesus did not make a habit of sitting down and breaking bread with Roman Governors and others of the higher classes. They’re the ones Jesus rebelled against and was eventually killed by, remember? The Roman elite would have been the only ones with access to wine. Back in the day, Jesus and the Roman’s didn’t get along so well.
We fail to think of Jesus’ life in terms of his time in history. During Jesus’ life, the Roman Empire occupied most of the middle east. Jesus was a rebel, a political martyr, standing up against the Roman forces that enslaved his people. It is ironic, but not entirely unexpected, that the religion that emerged from Jesus’ teachings was eventually so greatly embraced and so widely broadcast by the same people against whom he rallied.
If we think of Jesus and consider the historical context, we see him as a hero to the common people, fighting against the oppressive establishment of his day. As such, Jesus surely would have provided the people with beer, not wine. In fact, it’s likely that Jesus’ people didn’t even know what wine was.
Beer – No Less of a Miracle
The context and magnitude of Jesus’ miracle is not changed by this interpretation of the original text. Because the Bible has been translated from and to so many different languages by people with their own agendas, we have to accept that there are some factual if not contextual inaccuracies. I am no less impressed by the miracle of turning water into beer.
To further assure myself of eternal damnation, I’d like to point out that it is also very likely, if not certain, that it was beer which was served at the last supper. The blood of Christ was beer! Furthermore, a historical and anthropological study has suggested that Noah’s arc was actually a barge hauling beer on the Euphrates. Cue the lightning.