Stay Close to the River

Jeremiah 17:8-For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

I picked blackberries last weekend. Expecting to find a surplus of big, sweet berries, I set out with a large colander into my parents’ field. Imagine my surprise when their multitude of bushes produced, for the most part, small, sour berries. Withered and brown leaves held on to the parched bushes. While I managed to collect enough (with lots of sugar added) to make a cobbler, the harvest was not nearly what I expected. It’s been too dry. Too hot. The berries didn’t have enough water to grow.

The blackberry bush still produced fruit, but it was smaller than normal and not as tasty. The plant had to limit the production of berries just to survive. If we are too far away from our water source, we will focus on other things (worry, fear, stress, etc.) and won’t be able to produce the full, bountiful fruit that God intends for us to produce.

A tree planted in the desert cannot stretch its roots far enough to reach water, no matter how it tries. Its roots will always seek water and be dependent upon whatever falls from the sky, whenever it falls. When we wander too far out into the desert, away from God, away from His supreme, never-ending water, our roots stretch out but can’t always reach back. They become dry and brittle.

But, a tree planted by the water (or blackberry bush), never needs worry. Fresh water is always available, even when it hasn’t rained, and the roots can reach deep into the moist ground. If we stay close to the water’s edge, we will never have to worry about running out of the life-giving flow. If we stay close to the river, where our spiritual needs are met, we won’t have to “scale back production” on the fruit that we are supposed to produce. We can live up to our potential and produce sweet, abundant fruit.


(Picture taken by me at our house)


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