Jeremiah 17:5-8 (CEB)
The Lord proclaims: Cursed are those who trust in mere humans, who depend on human strength and turn their hearts from the Lord.
They will be like a desert shrub that doesn’t know when relief comes. They will live in the parched places of the wilderness, in a barren land where no one survives. Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord. They will be like trees planted by the streams, whose roots reach down to the water. They won’t fear drought when it comes; their leaves will remain green. They won’t be stressed in the time of drought or fail to bear fruit.
A desert shrub is used to living in the desert – it’s not dead, it withstands the harsh conditions. The closest thing in my childhood memory bank are the trees on exposed sides of the Pennine moors. They are thin and haggard, one sided where they have shrunk back from the harsh wind. They cling to life. They don’t thrive, they certainly don’t flourish, they are not fruitful, all of their energy is taken by mere survival. They exist, but they don’t really “live”.
By contrast – the tree planted by a stream stretching its roots deep into the well-watered soil, swelling with life… well – you can draw your own mental picture.
Of course this isn’t really about trees, Jeremiah was no amateur dendrologist…
It’s about you and me having deep roots into a deep wellspring of God’s love. And Jeremiah has done a pretty good job of describing the outcome.