Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Water into Wine

by Julia Fricke Robinson

the Bible asks us to suspend reality
have faith, believe in miracles,
waters part, commandments come down from heaven
a star leads to a virgin birth by a child bride
a virgin can give birth because the angel Gabriel declared it so?

this baby named Jesus born of this virgin named Mary
goes to a wedding in Cana with his mother
a grown man, past typical marrying age but unmarried
followed by a group of similar young men
what does that tell us?

in the first recorded instance
of helicopter parenting, the Mother Mary
notices that the host is almost out of wine
asks her nearby son Jesus to perform his first miracle
to turn six jars of water into wine

He sasses her, says, “Why me, woman?”
then, compliant and respectful, he consents
whether to distract his mother, who is always at his side
or to impress friends and fellow party-goers
with better wine; the act recorded as Biblical history

Cana of Galilee, now known as Kafr Kanna (kafur Kanah, accent on 2nd syllables)
in the Northern triangle of Israel is
89% Palestinian Muslim, 11% Jewish or Druze Christian
residents speak different languages, worship different gods
children educated in segregated schools

Palestinian poverty and unemployment rampant
tensions high, war always imminent, “a time bomb
waiting to explode if Palestinians (the “others”)
exceed 20%” warns Netanyahu, encourages
Jewish women to have more children

The “melting pot” model rejected
this mosaic community with rigid, grout-like barriers
intermarriage outlawed, inequality and discrimination enshrined 
awaits a new Gabriel to announce a new Savior
a miracle of transmutation, water into wine

* * * * *

Julia Fricke Robinson, author of two memoirs, All I Know and Between the Desert and the Wetlands, divides her time between visiting children and grandchildren in Colorado, Indiana and New York and living, dancing and writing in a community of artists, writers, performers, activists and otherwise interesting people in beautiful Silver City, New Mexico, where the weather is just about perfect.

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