Winslow_Homer_(American,_1836–1910),_Farmer_with_a_Pitchfork._Oil_on_board

A certain man set out to plant a vineyard. He prepared his plot of land, prepared his seeds, and set forth to plant the seeds. The seeds sprouted and grew, and when they had grown, he transplanted them into the ground. Now the ground was very good for soil, but only a single vine grew forth from the ground, while the rest of the ground lay bare. The single vine grew very well, and it took to the good soil. The sun, however, was blocked behind the clouds day after day, and its light never reached the vine. Over time, only the sun’s heat came forth, and without any light, the vine ceased to grow. The sun scorched the vine and all of the good soil, including that which produced no growth, and the vine began to wither and die.

After seeing all these things, the man was deeply sorrowed, for his vineyard had ceased to bring forth any growth. So, before the vine had withered completely, the man took a single grape from the vine and planted it in a portion of the good soil that remained. This sprouted, and brought forth a new vine. This vine, however, grew much more bountifully. The vine grew, and grew, and grew, until finally it covered the entire plot of land. The sun refused to shine as before, but the vine grew all the more in spite of the lack of sunlight. In fact, the vine grew so quickly that in just one season, the vineyard became very beautiful, and it produced much fruit for the man, even though the entirety of the vineyard came only from the single vine. The soil all around the vineyard was hard and bare, for the sun continued to bake it day after day. The single vine continued to grow and spread, but the soil did not bring forth any new vines, for the sun’s heat withered away any new growth immediately. The man was very pleased with the single vine, but the lack of new growth brought him much grief. He continued to prune and water the vine, until one day the vine ceased to grow outward, and began to grow upward. It grew rapidly upward toward the sun, until finally the sun broke through the clouds and all of its heat was released, scorching the single vine. The vine withered and died, and it fell back onto the ground, covering the entire vineyard. In fact, the vine had grown so large that not one portion of the vineyard remained open, for the vine covered it all. Its grapes fell into the soil, and when winter came, some of the soil soaked up the vine, producing good, beautiful soil. When spring came, the portions of soil that had soaked up the vine brought forth beautiful vines of their own. Their roots grew quickly and connected underneath the soil forming one giant root system. These vines produced good fruit, and the man pruned them, bringing forth even more fruit the next season.

Meanwhile, the ground which did not soak up the vine lay bare, however, the covering of the vine protected it from the sun. The soil did not become healthy enough to keep any water and produce new growth like the soil which soaked up the vine, yet it did not dry up either, for the sun could not wither the massive covering of the vine. The man saw this, and when he realized that the vine had not withered, he waited for the ground to receive it. His vineyard grew, and though some of the ground still refused to bring forth new growth, the entire vineyard remained covered. And so, the man continued to water his vineyard, and he waited, watching the soil closely each season. The vines grew, the ground remained covered, and the man watered, all the while watching, and waiting with hope.

 

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5

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