Editor’s Note: We apologize for the lack of posts recently. This was due to our particularly busy schedules and some technical issues with the site. The following post was originally planned for the first of May.

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John 15:5 “I am the vine: you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him; he will bear much fruit: apart from me you can do nothing.

Springtime is a favorite time for Central Asians to spend the afternoon in their vineyards. They take nuts and tea, pick green almonds, new grape leaves for dolma, and enjoy the new life appearing everywhere. Recently our family joined some friends in their mountainside vineyard overlooking their beautiful village. In the early spring the owner had trimmed back all the vines, down to the stump. New shoots and leaves were now popping out all over the top of this stump. Ahmed, a small child, brushed up against one of the stumps and broke one of the new shoots from the stump. I heard his mother scold him and realized what he had done. An older brother sat down right next to the stump in the shade of an almond tree. A few handfuls of sunflower seeds later, the boy moved a little saying that his shirt was getting wet. This stump, where the vine was broken off, was literally dripping like a leaky faucet.

All the water that was dripping to the ground was intended for the vine left dangling from the stump. The water would carry nutrients to produce a healthy vine with gorgeous full leaves and ultimately sweet, juicy, plump fruit. Since that little shoot was no longer abiding, it would never see fruit. It will eventually end up in a fire. No one will ever enjoy leaves from that vine in dolma, but more importantly no one will ever enjoy grapes from that vine. How many clusters would that one vine produce? How large would the clusters be? We’ll never know.

I have meditated on this scene in light of John 15. Now what about the rest of the shoots coming out of the stump? Will they now suffer, because all of the nutrient-filled sap dripped to the dry ground? Will they produce luscious clumps of grapes or will their growth be stunted because this one shoot is no longer abiding in the vine?

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