Blessed is the one who trusts in Yahweh,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17: 7 – 8
One metaphor found in the Hebrew scriptures is how the one who trusts is Yahweh is like a tree planted by streams of water. I have often glossed over this image of a tree planted in water, unable to picture it or comprehend its meaning. But let’s think about this metaphor; water is essential to all of life. A tree planted in a stream will have the necessary nourishment in both water and sun to make its leaves green and fruit to grow. Droughts brought on by the heat of the sun will not worry it. Beneath the tree its roots invisibly form a connection with the moisture, joining it to the source of its life.
What an extraordinary metaphor for the life lived in Christ and the spirit.
Jesus declares: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”.
In Christ we are like trees, grounded in the streams of water that give our spiritual life its sustenance. Perhaps there’s never been a time like now to hold firm to this claim. We are living through a time that future generations will learn about in history lessons. This pandemic has impacted the fabric of our society in so many different ways. It has brought about lots of different kinds of ‘droughts’; human connection, gatherings, work, salaries, routine, human touch, non-Zoom conversation, and the luxury of assuming good health.
If I’m honest, when I consider my own life in Christ, I do experience fear when the ‘heat’ comes. I do sometimes find myself with worries in a year of drought. I do wonder what kind of fruit my life will bear and how I can keep my leaves green. But this is how both the scriptures and God’s spirit challenge me in what I believe and how I live. As “Messiah people” we are shaped by an alternative Kingdom, grounded in a particular worldview and mindset of hope. We are sustained by that living water Jesus promised which contains the necessary nourishment and nutrients for all the seasons of life. As a developing tree, I am connected to a stream that gives me strength to persevere through heat and drought, and the provisions to produce Kingdom fruit. Particularly at the moment, this is one of the challenges in my faith journey I am chewing on: to continue to trust and have confidence in Yahweh in a year of many droughts.