I love the creativity of children. There was an art competition at the church I worked with the theme ‘Noah’s Ark’. I collected a painting from a proud grand-mother who went into detail to explain to me what her grand-daughter illustrated in her painting. I was impressed by her replacing the olive leaf that the dove brought back to Noah with a bunch of grapes. How refreshing! How creative! As if to say ‘….open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest! (John 4:35, Luke 10:2). It’s the new wine with a promise.
As long as the earth endures
seedtime and harvest
summer and winter
day and night will
never cease. (Genesis 8: 21 – 22)
Grapes signify the fertility and goodness of the land. In Numbers 13, Moses sent men to explore the land of Canaan which God promised to the Israelites. Their mission was to see what the land was like. Was the soil fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? ‘Do your best to bring back some fruit of the land.’ (It was the season for the first ripe grapes) (Numbers 12:17-20)
Jesus gave us an illustration of a tree and its fruit to warn us of false prophets ‘By your fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or fig from thistles? Likewise every good tree bear good fruit….thus by their fruit you will recognise them’ (Matt 7: 15 – 20)
The fruit of the vine – new wine is a new covenant, hope not judgement , wine that gladdens the heart, not the maddening wine of their adulteries ( Rev 14:8) They were not sour grapes and Noah and his children’s teeth were certainly not set on edge ( Jer. 31:29, Ezekiel 18:2)
In Rev 14: 15 John tells us of his vision of the harvest of the earth. The dove in Noah and the ark story is like the angel in this passage – a messenger from God calling out in a loud voice saying;
‘Take you sickle and reap, because the time has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’
Come on Noah, swing your sickle over the earth and harvest it!
In fact Noah and his family were the first workers of the new land, the first to drink the new wine.
In Isaiah we see God coming to the relief of his people, to restore them to their land, and to give them the enjoyment of its fruits in peace.
‘Never again will I give your grain as food to foreigners, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled, But those who harvest it will reap it and praise the Lord.’ (Isa. 62:8)
It is the Lord who plants, man harvest. Jesus is the true vine. His Father the gardener . Remain in me he said and you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:1)
In the child’s illustration of Noah and the ark story, the water not only receded from the land, it was already bearing fruit ready for harvest – the new wine!
What a miracle! Turning water into wine (John 2: 1 -11)