Enchanting was modified a lot from vanilla, requiring lots of infrastructure, with the intention of balancing PvP and encouraging civilization to emerge.
See also: Plugins#OldEnchanting
The actual enchanting of items won't require Lapis, but it will take the full amount of experience. Items will be repairable forever but will be expensive to repair in the long run, capping out at 39 levels with no reset.
Experience exists in four forms: in a player's experience bar, as experience bottles, as Emeralds, and as Emerald blocks.
All these can be converted into each other: crafting 9 experience bottles created 1 Emerald, 9 Emeralds make an Emerald block, and vice versa.
By clicking on an enchanting table while holding bottles you can turn all of your levels into experience bottles.
Experience is not dropped by any vanilla means (mobs, ores, smelting). Instead it can be made using one of the Cauldron factories. Each has four recipes taking various farmable items as input and creating Emerald items, blocks, or experience bottles.
Since Emerald ore was accidentally generated with the map, one alternative but inefficient way to acquire experience is by mining Emerald ore in
Extreme Hills +, ideally with Fortune III.