For Christmas last year we gave our daughter, Sarah, a Bonsai tree. She was leaving for the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein in January to study nursing and wanted to take something with her that was ‘alive’.
The two of us spent a long time looking at Bonsai trees before she finally settled on the one pictured above. It endured a ten hour road trip to the Orange Free State and a few days left in the car where the temperatures reached into the 30’s.
I received the following message from her last night:
“I thought I’d killed my bonsai because I left it too long in the car when I first came here but it didn’t completely die! New branches are growing off it.
I like it better this way. Gives me a certain amount of hope…it seemed dead but I loved it and still watered it and now there is new life. It is an example of when people give up on others because they don’t see any hope for them but then someone comes along and sees hope and potential and keeps loving them no matter what…
…and they grow anew…through all the bad, dead parts of their lives. They push through and are more beautiful for it.
Her words reminded me of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well in Samaria (1). This woman was ostracized by people and looked down upon. In biblical times the women would all walk to the well together and use it as a time to socialise with each other. This woman came alone to the well as no other woman wanted to be associated with her. She had been married five times and was openly living with a sixth man. She knew she was marked as a sinner and she had lost all sense of her worth and value and had no self-respect left. No woman, who had any sense of self worth and self respect living in those times, would have ended up living with a man outside the bounds of a marriage.
Jesus attitude towards her shakes her to her very core. He looks her in the face, He speaks to her, He does not judge her and He offers her His love and compassion and shares with her how she can have eternal life. She leaves her precious water jar behind and runs back to the town to tell the people about this Man who knew everything about her. This Man who saw “hope and potential” in her. Jesus spent two days in the village and I am sure, that by the time He left, this woman “had grown anew…through all the bad, dead parts of her life. She pushed through, found hope and her face must have radiated the beauty of God’s presence”.
God sees beyond the bad, dead parts of our lives. He never gives up on us.
“I have loved you, with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again…” Jeremiah 31:3
I read Sarah’s words and my heart rejoices that she has chosen to care for people for the rest of her life…that she has chosen to “love and water” others.
This is the same Bonsai tree that inspired me to change my blog!
(1) John 4:1-42
Related post: https://noelene2014.com/2015/01/18/saying-goodbye/