Shrubs and Trees and Living Water


May 31

I journaled my way across Texas’s panhandle last June, writing things like this:

I’ve noticed the plants here grow together. Only occasionally is a shrub brave enough to weather the prairie alone. And those that do wear brambles to prove their fortitude.

My Missouri home is green and humid. The contrast between Southwestern and Midwestern landscapes came to mind when I read Jeremiah 17 last week:


Cursed is the man who trusts in man

and makes flesh his strength,

whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He is like a shrub in the desert,

and shall not see any good come…


Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water,

that sends out its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

for its leaves remain green…

(Jer. 17:5-8)


I’ve grown up exploring a place called Shaw Nature Reserve. Behind the Visitor’s Center lies Pinetum Lake, fringed by massive trees that thrust their roots out into the water. We used to picnic under their limbs, and my siblings and I would scramble over the thick, knotted roots.

Pinetum nourishes those trees, and they anchor their roots deep. It’s a different picture than the shrubs tossed by Texas winds.

It’s a better picture of how we, as Christians, can thrive by anchoring our hope deep in the living waters Jesus offers (John 4:14).

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