The grape juice was allowed to stand and ferment in the collecting vessels for about six weeks. A sludge known as lees formed at the bottom of the vessels. The wine was then tipped up gently into jars without disturbing the sediment (Jer 48:11). The jars were sealed with clay, but there was a small hole by the handle that allowed the gases released during the remaining fermentation to escape. When the process was complete, the hole was sealed with a blob of wet clay and the owner’s name or seal was put on the clay. It was possible to put the wine in wineskins (goatskin bottles), but if the gases, then it would burst and the wine would be lost. This is the point of Jesus’ illustration in Matthew 9:17.Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (WINE-MAKING)
Ishmael was a Jewish zealot who rebelled against the rule of Babylonia in the chaotic period after Judah fell to the Babylonian army. These ten men agreed to give Ishmael some food supplies that they had hidden in their fields if he would spare their lives. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (BURIED FOOD)
Isn’t it amazing how an entire life can change in a moment? That’s the way it happened for the unnamed woman we meet in John 4.
On a nothing-special day in the Samaritan village of Sychar, she was minding her own business when she realized her household water jar was empty. It was unbearably hot out. Perfect, she thought. She probably wouldn’t have to see anyone or talk to anybody. Grabbing her water jar, she slipped out the door. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE BIBLE (THE SAMARITAN WOMAN: MEETING THE THIRST QUENCHER)
Working in clay is one of the ancient professions. Long before paper, damp clay served as a surface to receive the marks that represented early writing called cuneiform. And people discovered that baked clay contained water and could be used for cooking more efficiently than tightest woven baskets. When one of our brilliant ancestors discovered the potter’s wheel, the age of clay had arrived. Eventually, clay pots became widely used