It doesn’t take much of a horticulturist to realize this spring’s lack of rain tests the depth of a plant’s root system. Our yard is one example. As we become acquainted with its variety of growth we have noticed the deeply watered, and thus deeply rooted, shrubs and perennials are green and growing; not rapidly, but alive nonetheless.
However, there are a few with shallow roots. Before we thought to water them, they already reached out looking for moisture. When it wasn’t readily accessible at the surface, they gave up and are either very sick or quite dead. Some will be replaced. Others will leave a vacant spot for their more vigorous neighbors to fill. My philosophy? Slightly cruel... survival of the fittest! One healthy plant is worth three runts. In other words, my thumb is probably more black than green.
As that thought came, so did this one: God doesn’t have the same philosophy. In His kingdom, everyone who is truly in it — survives. Oh yes, the deeply rooted are more vigorous and growing. Trials and dry times do not stop them, maybe just slow them down. But the shallow rooted are also blessed with the occasional shower — enough to keep them growing and reaching. Their roots may not go down into God very far but God is gracious to send the needed supply when things get tough.
However, as a plant in God’s garden, I am instructed not to be content with just getting by. Psalm 1 talks about a person who meditates on God’s Word and becomes “like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
Another well-known plant in the Bible, the burning bush out of which God spoke to Moses, offers an illustration too. The said bush burned, but was not consumed, a miraculous occurrence. It seems to me that it was more likely a green, healthy bush — not dried up, shallow-rooted, ready-for-the-fireplace tinder. Like that bush, God desires to use His children to speak for Him. Failure to drink deeply from His well of living Water will dry up our words and leave us ill prepared to proclaim His message. Not only that, He will send trials that seem like fire. Again, unless we are deeply rooted, like that bush, survival will be miraculous indeed. Better to have our roots deeply into His supply, our souls made alive and supple from the life of Christ exercised within, than to frantically reach for a few mercy drops when the temperature rises.
The secret to deep roots is four-fold. Pour over scripture; pray earnestly and often; strive for transparent fellowship with other Christians; and share what God has done with those who need to hear it. The basics. Neglect any one of them and the dry season begins.
When I water my garden this year, it will remind me that Christ offers living water for my spiritual thirst. To meet the heat of the seasons of life, I must often return to His well and stay there, drinking deeply until He satisfies the longings of my heart. Because He promises to be a Spring of Living Water, I can be sure of being a survivor.