Beer. One of the most commonly consumed beverages in the western nations. Apparently, the average beer consumption across the United States today is approximately 22 gallons per person per year. Generally, excessive beer drinking is frowned upon in today’s culture, equating the drinker with more of a drunk than a “health-nut”, but what would you say to the idea that originally, beer was medicine? How about the thought that even Jesus had a six-pack of beer now and then?
Egypt and Babylon have been believed to be the “birth place of beer” by many. Largely as an offering to the gods and preservation of mummies, beer was also used as a medicine for those who suffered stomach upset, for wound healing and to prevent fever. Of course, beer in ancient Egypt was very different from the lagers and ales of today. Ancient Egyptian beer was also called “bread beer” because it was thicker and more porridge-like, carrying a variety of nutrients and friendly bacteria that soothed the gut and added much needed calories to the diet. This bread beer was more sour and largely non-intoxicating. Apparently, kids as early as 2 years old were introduced to this bread beer in Egypt and the people consumed it throughout their lives as a precautionary health measure.
Beer was also given as payment to those constructing the pyramids and it was an important and intricate part of religious and spiritual life there. Tjenenet was the “official goddess of beer” in Egypt, while in Sumeria, the goddess Ninkasi held the same attributes. Ka is the Sumerian word for beer, while Ka in Egyptian refers to one’s life-force essence, or light-body. Interesting? Jesus spent a considerable amount of time in Egypt and it is even believed that he trained and studied there extensively, being initiated in the ways of the Egyptian mysteries. If he did so, he would have learned about the Ka body – the body of light – as a spiritual “double” to the Khat body – or the physical form. Would he have also connected his understanding of ka- as beer and Ka – the light body?
Jesus also was believed to study with the Essenes, where they learned practices of fasting, cleansing and body rejuvenation. Beer was often used as a cleansing drink and an enema in Egyptian times. Beer in Egypt and Mesopotamia was also believed to bring on prophetic states and many temples of old there also had there own breweries.
In the Bible, there are many passages which refer to strong drink. Scholars who understand the drinking practices of the day report that wine was only for the very rich and elite and that beer was the more common drink of those with whom Jesus associated. Therefore, based on this assumption and periodic knowledge, it is thought that Jesus actually turned water into beer, not wine in the famous wedding miracle.
In the Hebrew Bible, translators agree that Yehweh drank about one half of a hin of beer per day during libation – which equates to about the same amount found in a six-pack. Numbers 28:7-10 supports the idea of him drinking even more than that on the Sabbath. Isaiah 24:9 points to the idea that times were melancholy if beer was not present.
Did Jesus have a six-pack of beer now and again? It’s possible. If he did, chances are the beer was very different from your Budweiser, Fosters and even the high-end Belgium Chimays of today. In ancient times, the medicinal properties were definitely enhanced, while the intoxicating properties, subdued. Perhaps in order to receive the same sorts of benefits today from beer as they did in times past, you’d have to brew your own, though you might need a time machine to get the recipe just right.
Written by: Stasia Bliss