I Am the Vine; You Are the Branches

agriculture-countryside-cropland-1047327

Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels

This is post number 4 in a series. I am writing a kids’ bible talk on the verse John 15:5. Previous posts include, Abiding in Jesus, How I Write a Kids’ Bible Talk, and John 15:5, Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Today I’m researching the analogy of the vine and the branches to see why on earth Jesus would use it. Me, being a girl from the burbs, not a grape farmer or even much of a wine drinker, it doesn’t make much of an impact when God tell’s me he is the vine and I am a branch! Sorry God, I don’t get it.

But I know it was meant to make an impact. To the people who first heard it, it did mean more.  So today I am going to find out what it meant and you’re coming along too!

John 15:5 says,

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Step 3 in my Writing a Kids’ Talk Process is;

  • Discover anything I don’t know about the key words and add it to what I already know; (Definitions, historical info, technical info, bible truths)

Vine – The roots of a grape vine reach about 3 feet into the soil (quite deep for a plant or even a tree). The roots are less dense than a lot of plants but are multi-branched structures that anchor the vine securely. Old roots are woody, and new growth is both lateral and vertical. Lateral roots develop many delicate root shoots.

Once established grape vines grow well in soil of medium to poor fertility. The roots will penetrate down, even into clay, and seek out nutrients the plant needs. Do not overfeed a grape vine: rich soils will typically produce a vine with lots of leaf and very little fruit. (So, no need for us to ‘fertilise’ the root with manure! Haha!) The roots don’t like to stand in water.

Sunlight is so important for grapevines. Producing fruit takes much of the grapevine’s energy, the plant needs plenty of sunlight to help it recharge. Grapevine leaves gather nutrients from the sun, and exposure to sun can change the taste of the grapes as they ripen. Sweeter grapes come from vines that get the warmest part of the sun’s rays  and longer sun exposure. Shadier vines produce less sweet fruit.

Vines grow best when cultivated, (with plan and purpose by the farmer!) because they fruit and flower most when their branches are…

a) off the ground

b) pruned well at the beginning of Spring.

The farmer trains and trims one vertical trunk called a cordon, from this he trains two branches called minor cordons to grow horizontally in both directions, these are trimmed back but a small amount remains to thicken every year.

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Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels

Branches – branches can be trained, grafted in & pruned.

The main branches “cordons” are the only ones that remain always, the others are pruned every spring. The disciples were about to be pruned, cut back by 90% like a grape vine after winter. Jesus was encouraging them before their pruning to remain in him, the root, the true vine. He was promising fruit.  Jesus was about to grow fruit, all the disciples had to do was remain in him and let him remain in them by the Holy Spirit he’d already promised.

Canes grows out of the cordons every spring. On these canes the leaves, flowers and fruit will grow. The farmer will train these to cling horizontally to a trellis. Unpruned, untrained or ‘wild’ vines produce, less, more sour and poorer quality fruit. Branches on the ground produce barely any fruit at all. Vines are supposed to cling onto something, just like we are not designed to live independently but as a church supporting each other.

Grapevine sap – I found some amazing info on grapevine sap; its incredible healing power, its traditional and current medicinal uses. What a plant! There is a fascinating article at NatureWord. I’ve linked the article so that you can read it. When you consider that Jesus calls himself the true vine, and God the Father the farmer, process of elimination makes the Holy Spirit the  grapevine sap. With this in mind, and with the context of Jesus’ words to his disciples in our minds, the article is beautiful! Here is a small taste…

“Every spring after pruning, grapevine sap of clear color oozes from the cut stems, making it look as if the vines are crying, mourning, hence the very poetic name: tears of grapevine or bleeding grapevine.”

Marius Lixandru. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2014-2018 Source: https://www.natureword.com/properties-and-benefits-of-grapevine-sap/

Jesus knew there would be tears after the pruning, He encouraged his disciples to remain in him so that the tears would be Holy Spirit tears. Tears of the comforter, who mourns with us. I love the way the sap oozes. It shows that it is not the branches that draw the sap into themselves, but the root that sends the sap upwards into the branches. God’s love is like this – inexorable. Unstoppable. It just flows, unstopping into the branches. We don’t have to do anything to be filled with God’s love except remain in him, be rooted in him. This gives such clarity to the idea of abiding in Christ, just letting the   living water of the Holy Spirit flow, accepting the nourishment that the root provides, allowing it to heal, renew, regenerate, grow and bear fruit in us.

I hope this study on Jesus the vine and you the branches greatly encourages you, it has really encouraged me!

Be blessed today,

Lots of Love,

L

 

4 comments

    • That’s such a good question! I have asked it too. Do you know I think it’s not all passive. Not because the love and the grace does not just flow, but because of our human nature and the fallen nature of our world.
      First, we tend to make it harder for ourselves than it is meant to be, by second guessing or taking too much on ourselves. God has done it all, it is finished, all we need is to repent and believe.
      And we do, but then every day it is a choice for us to remain/abide. Sometimes it’s an easy passive choice, other times it is very, very tempting to snap right off in the storms, and tempests, and plagues we experience in this world.
      Elsewhere in the bible we are told to keep putting off all that hinders, so it follows that stuff will hinder. That is where we cannot be passive. We can be passive in the receiving of the grace, passively let the Holy Spirit flow but we must actively remain, and actively throw off what hinders. We must also actively be in communication with the Father God, the Farmer because he can do all that is impossible for us.
      But! we can’t do the active without the passive, so weirdly the passive must come first. Does that help? Thanks for a thoughtful and honest comment.
      Lots of love, L

      Liked by 1 person

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