“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, and I will 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 a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (Reference: John 15:1-8 )
When I first read these verses – and I mean for the very first time in my life, I did not quite understand. I tried to understand it thinking about trees and bushes, but it left gaps in my understanding of meaning in these verses. I had never seen a grape vine or fruit vine up close enough to see how it is formed. And I think, but I am not sure, that this metaphor is meant to rest on grape vines.
The anatomy of a grape vine goes like this – the vine grows out of the ground straight up. Then the branches grow sideways and need wires or strings to grow upon or they are just a gnarled mess on the ground. The branches grow the grapes, but without the vines the branches wither and die. But it is the sap that gives the branches life. Because when the branches are disconnected from the vine, the life-growing sap does not reach the branches.
Now, place the understanding beside the text of John 15 verses 1-8. When you understand how a grape vine grows, Jesus’ meaning becomes clear. And do not forget the sap! The sap, beloved, is the Holy Spirit – that comes through the vine that is Christ into us. The “sap” remains in us only as long as we are connect to God/Jesus. Once that connection is broken . . . . well, we are brush for the fire.
I pray, beloved, that you are connected to the Vine of God and are producing good fruits. Selah!