“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be 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.” (Ps 1:1-3, NKJV)
When we think about leading a fruitful life, it is natural to have a desire to produce something that is of value to those around us. But the reality is that growing fruit takes time and careful tending. In the verses in Psalm 1, we find the comparison of a tree that is planted by the river as one that brings forth fruit in its season. So we can conclude that the river which nourishes the tree is the “law of the Lord” on which we “mediate day and night.” So becoming fruitful is directly related keeping the word of God a close influence in our lives.
Wednesday was “TU BiShvat,” here in Israel (you can click on the link for further reading); it is a Jewish celebration of planting of trees. Small trees are given to the kids, and everyone goes out to plant the new tree together. Picks and shovels are used on the rocky soil to make room for the little tree, and then the kids put it where it is meant to grow. Two ways a tree gets the water it needs is from above (rain) or below (underground, or the ‘aquifer’) here in Israel we have an arid climate, and droughts are not uncommon. To survive, trees must develop root systems that are deep enough to get what it needs from the water that is below ground. So being planted by the streams is a wonderful solution, but in Israel, running streams are only seasonal and during the dry parts of the year, they dry out.
The dry seasons force the trees to develop deeper roots that reach the water that penetrated the soil during the rainy season. Then the tree continues to be fruitful even when there is no evidence of water on the surface. The water of God’s word, given to us in the rainy season (associated with times of blessings), must be allowed to penetrate to soil of our heart because that is what sustains us during times of drought. In order to survive in a seasonal world where we have times of drought and times of storms, we first must allow God’s word to penetrate the soil of our hearts and then to develop the deeper root system to reach what God means for us to store up in our depths. In this, God’s work in our lives continues to be evident even when others can’t see externally the source of our fruitfulness.