Camellia

Not many men would admit to liking things of beauty, such as flowers. Flowers posses so much more than just beauty, in many ways they provide lessons. God uses His creation to reveal Himself to us. Consider the stars and their vastness, providing knowledge of when it is time to plant and harvest, the Sun and its life-giving light, even the Moon controls the tides of the waves all in perfect unison. The universe reveals God’s glory and greatness in mighty ways, but don’t discredit the things dwelling here on Earth. There are creatures so bewildering and complex you must admit that chance couldn’t have created such a sight. Our own existence, created in God’s image is the ultimate testimony to God found in nature. When life gets hard, we often forget the beauty found in the simple things, we forget that God is right there with us. So, let us consider the Camellia.

The Camellia is a very interesting flowering tree; while most trees produce flowers and fruit in the Spring or Summer months, the Camellia blooms in the dead of Winter. While most other plants suffer during the Winter, the Camellia blossoms, revealing life when all else appears desolate. The sky turns grey and snow begins to fall and the mighty Oaks groan with the freezes snapping their branches. Yet, in the midst of it all, there blooms a flower. This is something to consider, God provides for even the creation deemed lesser by men, so how much more will He provide for you who is created in His image? A Sparrow will not fall from a nest without His notice. Thus, His hand is surely working in your life when you fall as well. There is nothing too great for God to handle. Do you wonder why God made the Camellia bloom when nothing else does? Reflect on this, looking at the Camellia flower it reminds us that life can be found in dark places. Looking at our own lives how does this apply to us? Well…are you at this moment the Oak tree, or are you the Camellia?

The mighty Oak! One of the sturdiest trees upon this Earth, with large trunks and deep roots the Oak is hard to fell. Many are like the Oak, they go through life strong willed and can handle much on their own. Many storms have come and gone and still they stand. However, as the tree grows, so does the weight of storms. While the branches held little weight in previous snowstorms, the now large branches that could be a tree of its own hold much weight. When the freezes make the branches brittle and the weight of the snow piles on, the branches lose their strength and they fall with a mighty crash. At this point, the once mighty and strong Oak seems to have its life falling apart, branches that it thought would hold fast were falling from its grasp. The storm has rattled the Oak, lifelong growth now rests at its feet; it groans and creaks at the new wounds and scars received in the storm.

oak

Is that not how many people go through life? Headlong and strong they grow, many problems they may face, but they make it through alright. Then one day, their whole world is turned upside down, everything falls apart. When looking at their feet they see what was lost, looking at their scars they see what once was, but if they would just look up, they would see the Camellia.

The Camellia bearing the same snowstorm may seem feeble in it all. The forest is alight with the crashing of branches and the felling of trees. Yet, there it lies, green and blooming it reveals life when death is all around it. It blooms it seems, when the forest needs it the most, to show that life is there in their midst. To remind them that God is still the giver of life.

Some people are like the Camellia, they don’t bloom often, but when they do it’s when people need them the most. When life appears desolate, someone comes along and reveals to them life in what looks to be bad. Taking what is good and reflecting on it, while leaving behind the bad with every day, life just may get a bit easier. The Camellia truly is an amazing creation crafted by God’s hands, a beautiful reminder that even in the storm He remains.

snow camellia

God can make a flower bloom in the dead of Winter, how much more He can do with you.

Roots

When you read the Scriptures do you understand what they mean? Difficult to comprehend at times, it’s hard to come to a conclusion on what is being said. I think that is one major reason as to why Jesus taught using parables. I myself love using analogies, so I have an appreciation for Jesus’s teaching style. I hope to use an analogy to better explain what it means to have a searching heart. Life without Christ will never reach full satisfaction and fulfillment. The heart and mind being corrupt with the fall of man we as humans will search in all the wrong places for a fulfilled life.

When we look at the story of the Samaritan women, we find Jesus searching for water. Being weary from His journey from Galilee to Jacob’s well in the land of Samaria, Jesus asked a woman who was drawing water for a drink. 

Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) – John 4:9

Keeping Jesus’s response the main focus, pay attention to what he says next. 

 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” – John 4:10

Living water! What does this mean? What has Jesus just offered this woman?

After asking by what means Jesus will draw water from the well, Jesus responded. 

 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14

What is it that Jesus means by this? Does He truly mean our physical bodies will never thirst again? That’s how the Samaritan women understood it at first, but looking back at the beginning of the passage we see that Jesus was weary and asked for a drink. With this being the case clearly Jesus Himself needed physical water to sustain His physical body just as we do. What Jesus is speaking of, is spiritual water.

Going one chapter back we see the encounter with Nicodemus. When Jesus is discussing the way of salvation with him, He mentions understandings of both the physical realm and the spiritual realm.Take a moment to read their encounter.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” – John 3:1-23

Clearly Nicodemus is perplexed by Jesus’s words and does not understand that Jesus is speaking of spiritual rebirth. Dying to our old selves and arising anew we are baptized in the Holy Spirit washing away our former desires. The Holy Spirit being our guide Born Again Christians are raised up in new life. This being the living water Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well.

“…but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

The Holy Spirit fills our heart and soul. Being born of the flesh we are still living in sin, however, the Spirit provides new life, now born again in the spirit. The desires of the flesh begin to fade and new desires take their place. Water wells of flesh dry up, but the Living water of the Spirit is eternal, supplying fulfillment and substance to the weary soul, the searching heart and the wondering mind.

I hope I have accomplished explaining these passages well enough for understanding. I would like to share an analogy I have based off of these passages of scripture to bring about an easier way to explain it to others outside of Christ.

So we begin with a tree, the tree representing our soul and the roots of the tree seek out fulfillment, substance, and desires of the flesh (sin). Thus, us being the tree spreading out our roots in search of satisfaction it looks for water to sustain the tree.

The roots follow a path and find a pocket of water in the earth, but after some time it ceases to satisfy. The well dries up and the roots continue their search. Digging into another pocket it takes its fill, simply to be dissatisfied in the end. Ever searching to satisfy the tree, the roots continue without lasting reward. Every well the roots tap into dries up in due time. Eventually, the roots are at a loss of where to search next. All of the wells of the past never fill the tree with life again. Each new pocket never fully satisfy and the tree begins to suffer. If not remedied with a lasting and sustaining water the Tree will perish. Upon hearing of an everlasting water, the roots dig their way to this rumored source. Reaching a layer of stone they stop…the water is on the other side. For many, the roots surrender the search for everlasting water and return to empty pockets. For some, they dig their roots deep into the well, at long last, the tree is filled with everlasting life. Digging through the stone layer is difficult, grasping onto hope and faith the roots trudge their way through the layer. Everlasting life being the reward the tree no longer concerns itself with the empty pockets. Springing forth with new life the roots immerse themselves into the everlasting well. The Tree now fulfilled and sustained can grow with confidence.

These empty pockets being our sin filled lives never satisfy the soul. For a time they provide substance, it gives the flesh something to feed on, but in the end it fails to fulfill us. Our souls being spiritual they can only be filled with spiritual water. Seeking after desires of the flesh may feed the flesh, only to excite the hunger of the soul all the more. For the flesh, it eats and drinks until it’s glutenous and drunk. Still desiring more it seeks out new wells. For the soul, the physical realm is not to its liking, it seeks the spiritual realm for its filling. With one drink from the everlasting well it is fully satisfied and fully sustained. If the soul never finds its way to this Living Water, then it will perish without fulfillment, without satisfaction, it will perish with thirst. The flesh can feed and feed, but it will never be filled, only to die and turn to dust its desires turned out to lead to death.

Understand that the physical realm cannot save the spiritual. Sin may be fun and fill a void for a time, but as soon as the flesh says it’s not enough, it will demand more and more and never be filled. Seek out the spiritual, find the everlasting well, drink heartily from it, dig your roots deep into this well, and be filled with life everlasting.

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24