Authored by Martha Dodd

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “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.”   John 15:1-5

In 1768, a grape vine cutting was planted by a gardener at Hampton Court Palace in England.  Now, over 250 years later, this Great Vine, one of the oldest in the world, is 13 feet in diameter at its base, and its longest branch is 120 feet.  The average annual crop of black dessert grapes is about 600 pounds, but in the Fall of 2001, the harvest weighed in at 845 pounds – the best crop ever.  It was the fashion at the time, for the King to serve this fruit to his guests, but over the years, the fruit has been distributed and enjoyed, far and wide.  In the plant’s 250-year history, there have only been 11 gardeners who have tended it – watering and pruning as well as harvesting its fruit.  Historically, these “Keepers of the Great Vine” have lived in an adjacent house in order to tend the vine when needed.   
What are some insights that come to mind as you re-read and meditate on Jesus’ words from John 15?       
The illustration of the Great Vine reminds me of the words of Psalm 92.  “The righteous…are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.  They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” vs 13-15.   What an amazing picture of what it looks like to be alive to the presence of God by His indwelling Holy Spirit. 
Did you notice the fruit of the Great Vine was not just to be admired?  It was harvested to be served and enjoyed. A friend of mine always says we are pipes, not cups.  As we abide in Jesus, He pours His power and blessing by the Holy Spirit into our lives, not so we can keep filling ourselves up; He does it so that the Holy Spirit’s power can flow in and through us to bless and serve others.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that You are the good, faithful, loving, and skilful Gardener who plants, prunes, and produces good fruit in our lives, no matter how old or young we are.  I yield again today to Your invitation to abide in You.  Please show me how to give away to others, the good fruit of my friendship with you.  Amen  

Still Bearing Fruit In Old Age 

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