They will be like a tree planted by the water . . . its leaves are always green. Jeremiah 17:8
When friends moved into a new home, they planted wisteria near their fence and looked forward to the lavender blossom that would appear after five years of growth. Over two decades they enjoyed this plant, carefully pruning and tending it. But suddenly the wisteria died, for their neighbors had poured some weed killer by the other side of the fence. The poison seeped into the wisteria’s roots and the tree perished—or so my friends thought. To their surprise, the following year some shoots came through the ground.
We see the image of trees flourishing and perishing when the prophet Jeremiah relates them to God’s people who either trust in the Lord or ignore His ways. Those who follow God will send their roots into soil near water and will bear fruit (Jer. 17:8), but those who follow their own hearts will be like a bush in the desert (vv. 5–6). The prophet yearns that God’s people would rely on the true and living God, that they would be “a tree planted by the water” (v. 8).
We know the “Father is the gardener” (John 15:1) and that in Him we can trust and have confidence (Jer. 17:7). May we follow Him with our whole heart as we bear fruit that lasts.
Loving Lord, I want to follow You completely, whether in times of drought or abundance. Help me turn to You for help and hope.
When we follow God, He makes us to flourish.
The apostle Paul also spoke of the significance of our spiritual roots in Christ. In Colossians 2:6–7 we read, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (nasb). This description forms a fascinating word picture. Being rootedimplies stability and an unmovable quality, yet that rootedness actually puts us in a position to walk in Him. These ideas are not contradictory but actually complement each other. In addition to our rootedness we are being built up and established in our faith, and this produces an extraordinary result—gratitude. The deeper our roots go into God, the more we will realize all He has provided for us.
Christ has saved us, established us, strengthened us, and matured us. What better response can there be than to live thankful lives?