The Vine and The Branches
As I have been privileged to spend many hours pruning in the forest, I have been curious regarding the various vines. It appears there are healthy vines which produce lush leaves, flowers, and berries. Conversely, there are vine offshoots that have wound around trees and have choked the life out of them. There are vines that appear dead yet are not easily pulled out by the roots. Some require my favorite tool, a Sawzall, to do the job. Other vines are completely dead with dried up roots which are easily pulled. However, the dead vines feel like a trap when walking. Even Dutch, our dog, stops “dead in his tracks” when encountering a withered vine root.
Since Jesus spoke about the vine and the branches in John 15:1-6, I wondered if some research could help connect His words to my experience. The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary defines a vine as “a fast-growing climbing shrub with long tendrils. The lobed leaves are deciduous. The minute, greenish, clustered flowers are followed by berries. Branches are offshoots of a plant which may be tender with easily broken parts.”
The primary importance of this passage is the admonition to abide in Christ: constantly and actively. “The only way to continue to be pruned and bear fruit is to maintain vital spiritual connection with Jesus Christ, the vine. There is nothing for a broken-off branch to do but wither and die” (Word Studies in the New Testament).
The most flourishing vines are deeply rooted and have access to sunlight. May we be Christians who keep growing in Christ, connecting with Christians, and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
- Linda Schlenz