In May my dad picked me up this huge, beautiful hanging basket and I couldn’t figure out why.
I kill plants. He knows this. The only thing I could think was that he felt guilty because the only plant I ever kept alive was one I had when I rented out our old house from my parents and right before my wedding my dad put it outside and it got burned in the sun and died. It was a plant I grew from a cut-off from one of my mom’s plants.
After that incident, and many other moments of plant death, I sort of swore off plants. A friend sent me a prayer plant in the mail last winter when I said my house was gloomy and amazingly it’s still living, a couple years later.
Other than that low-maintenance plant, though, I try to stay away from plants. Another downside to indoor plants, besides my killer instinct, is that my one cat always tries to eat them and then inevitably throws up whatever she ate somewhere in the house.
See, here is the thing — I forget to water plants. I forget I even have them half the time until I walk by and see it dead.
I remember to feed my children and my pets and sometimes I remember to feed me, but I don’t remember to feed my plants.
So there sat this plant from my dad on my front with big purple blooms and I freaked out. I just knew I was going to kill it by forgetting about it, forgetting to water it, or move it out of the sun.
The Husband helped water it at first, because it was hanging up too high for me and because he remembers to take care of plants. Then I took the plant down and tried to remember myself.
I did well for a while and then during a hot week, when my husband was super busy with work, I did it. I forgot to water it.
I looked out the front door and the plant was a dried-up, brown husk of its former self. All the purple blooms were gone, the green was shriveling to brown. I had done it. I had killed another plant.
I lamented my murderous ways, or my neglectful manslaughter ways, to The Husband.
“Just start watering again,” he said with a casual wave of his hand because he is much more laid back about such things than I am. “It will come back.”
His words were encouraging and reassuring but I didn’t have much faith.
The plant was dead.
There was some green, yes, but for the most part –— death had set in.
Our spiritual life is like that plant.
If we don’t water our spirit with God’s word, his truth, during the week, our spiritual leaves fall off. We start to dry up and shrivel inside. We begin to feel withered and worn.
Like my pastor said this week, if we sing three songs, listen to a sermon, and walk out the door but don’t plug ourselves in to God throughout the rest of the week, we aren’t going to do very well – just like my poor plant.
Last summer I planted green beans and as I pulled some beans off, I accidentally ripped part of the vine off the main stalk. (See, I even kill vegetable plants! You don’t want me near your garden. I’m the angel of death for plants.) The part of the plant that got pulled off died, while the rest that was still connected to the nurturing soil and the main vine, kept growing and blooming.
As soon as I saw the disconnect of the plants and the brown setting in, I thought about how we become weak if we don’t stay connected to the vine — to Christ and to his followers, to a nurturing church that can help us stay connected to God’s word, to encouraging written or spoken words.
Back to that plant my dad gave me. I began to water it again, each day and then moved it into the rain if we had any. One day I walked out and it was not only green again, but the blooms had also returned. All the plant needed was to be nurtured and have its thirst quenched, similar to how our souls need the taste of the living water that will never leave us thirsty.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4: 10-14
Ways I stay connected to the truth of God throughout the week:
- Reading the Bible
- Worship or Christian Music
- Christian podcasts
- Praying for and with other Christians
- A weekly egroup (online Bible study)
- Church on Sunday (in person or online)
How do you stay connected with God or in tune with his direction for your life throughout the week? How do you keep your spirit watered?