I have a plant in my bathroom named, B.J. B.J. is short for, Benji Jr, and he is a lovely little ﬁcus that is an off shoot of a rather enormous ﬁcus tree, Benji, that my mother bought just after I was born. She has kept Benji with her for the past 30+ years and several years ago snipped off a branch and potted it for me. My little plant is now about 2 1/2 feet tall and sits on the ledge of my bathtub, looking out the window. I feel a hug from my mother every time I look at it, which is quickly followed by a stab of guilt.
Although I adore my plant, I am a horrid gardener and he is sorely neglected. No doubt,if he were properly fed and watered, heʼd be 4 feet tall with leaves bursting forth from sturdy branches. As it is, I have more ﬁngers and toes than he has leaves. Sad. Just sad.
As I was brushing my teeth tonight, I ﬁlled up an empty water bottle and leaned across the tub to give my little friend a drink. His soil was so dry that it was pulling away from the sides of the pot, and I knew this watering session would take a few minutes.
I have learned that when his soil is dry and hard, he has a tough time accepting the water right away. It pools on top and sits for a bit, almost as if he is deciding whether or not he is going to accept my offering. The dryer his soil, the longer it takes for him to drink in his ﬁrst sip. So, I sat patiently on the edge of the tub and continued to give him small sips until his soil was receptive again and ready for the soak that would have to last him the week . . . or so.
It occurred to me as I was going through this familiar watering process that I am often much like B.J. in my walk with the Lord. If I have gone through a season where I have not “watered and fed” my soul with the Word of God, my heart quickly grows dry and hard. The dryer my soul, the longer it seems to take for Godʼs Word to penetrate. My rebellious sin nature wants to reject the nourishment it so desperately needs and tries to hinder that ﬁrst wonderful sip of true “joy juice.”
Of course, once tasted, my soul begins to drink, perhaps slowly at ﬁrst, until the living water of Christ penetrates my entire being and I know the satiation of thirst only He can provide. It is wonderful. Thankfully, as I have grown in my relationship with Christ, the dry spells have become less frequent as I have learned the importance of consistent “watering” and the need for healthy and hearty “feedings.”
Of course, the idea of a parallel between man and foliage is not new. From the withering ﬁg tree to the branches of the Vine or the thorny patches along the side of the road, Scripture illustrates again and again how our loving Creator desires to tend our souls. He, and only He can bring forth a harvest of fruit in our lives or transform a ﬂedgling ﬁcus into a burgeoning tree with too many leaves to count.
I just think itʼs fun when He allows me a glimpse through His eyes. Just as I sat on the edge of my tub with a water bottle in my hand patiently waiting for B.J. to drink, I can see Him sitting on the edge of my bed with His cup in hand. Fortunately for me, Heʼs a much better gardener.