The tree won. I wanted to chop down the only citrus tree in my yard. Some people called me a “tree murderer” when I stopped irrigating it. When I was certain it was dead, new growth sprung out from the lower branches of the tree. I called a landscaper and had the tree pruned back so it can thrive again. It may take a few years before it begins to bear fruit, but at least I gave it a second chance.
Years ago, my neighbors needed help with their citrus trees, which were big producers. Every winter I gleaned the grapefruit, orange, and lemon trees and gave the fruit to anyone who would take it off my hands. Then one day the owner moved and the house became vacant for a long period. The grapefruit tree withered from a faulty irrigation connection. A tree that once could supply a whole neighborhood had almost no fruit at all.
It made me sad to think about the ignored tree—no fruit and maybe the tree would never recover. In Matthew 12, we are being compared to a healthy tree that produces fruit. Unless we are nourished and live in the living water of our baptism, the fruit of the spirit will die on the vine.
Lord, let me water my roots through daily communication with you. Amen.