Water Color by C. Derksen
This tree, often mentioned in scripture is a very unique and interesting plant. For example there are over 750 known fig tree species all across the globe! Those in the holy land were of medium height, 15-25 feet with a canopy that spreads out quite widely. They had thick foliage and so threw a great shade in the summer heat. People would build their homes near fig trees so they could sit beneath them in the cool of it's shade. It was something like us sitting on our patios, in gazebos or porches with an awning and so on overhead. One could picture them sipping a cool drink, visiting with family or friends, playing checkers, rocking and just dozing or meditating in the cool of the shade.
There actually are several other references to how the fig tree represented safety and rest. One such is Micah 4:4 "but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken."
One could obtain dried figs from the fig tree. They are a sweet and nutritious fruit that you can enjoy year-round and there are many kinds in a wide variety of colors and textures. With health benefits ranging from being high in fiber to strengthening bone density, healthy shiny hair and much more. Figs are considered a fantastic all around source for a healthy diet.
Not surprisingly, anyone who owned a fig tree was considered wealthy, plus It was a place of safety and rest. Bruce Malina – who studies the social science of the first-century world – has even suggested that when a fig tree is referenced, it’s actually a symbol for home. (1)
Today, we are experiencing something very unique. Folks around the world are being asked to stay at "home!" We to can now spend time relaxing with our families or just being alone depending on our situation. But is it a time we can make and cook our own food, talk things over with our spouse and our kids of all ages, rest, read, meditate, consider our lives, where we are at financially, physically, spiritually etc. We have been given an opportunity to re-tool, adjust away from the pressures of everyday life as in the past. It might even be an artistic adventure we can explore in a new way.
Let us not be overcome with fear, anger or anxiety! Understand there is a reason for all of this, and it is for us to re-connect with one another and our Creator in a new and intimate way. It is our own Fig tree scenario were we can re-tool for what lies ahead.
May we all come out of this stronger, centered and excited for how we will do things differently in the future. We have a God who loves us and wants to see us grow in our understanding of Him, who he is and how we can grow in our relationship with him. This is a time of creativity and renewal, so that we can go forth with new energy, people with a new purpose and priorities when we are freed from this pandemic.
Remember, you are a rich person because you can sit in the shade of your imaginary fig tree, safe in your own home having been given the time to become a new person for the new tomorrow that will soon be upon us.
God bless you all!
Inspiration and information from:
Rev. Sherouse First Baptist Church 1000 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC, 27401 https://fbcgso.org/leaving-the-shade-sermon-by-alan-sherouse/
(1) Bruce Malina & Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary: "The Gospel of John"
it’s where you find light when all grows dark"