Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.Revelation 22:2
I am torn this morning between sharing a ridiculously wonderful photo of our grandson Geoffrey and writing about this “Tree of Life” Rebekah has being talking about for over a decade now.
Being Sunday morning I believe the theological winds are blowing in the direction of the Tree of Life.
So here’s the background on the thing. Somewhere around twelve years ago, while our son Andrew was living his best life in Tuscany, the Department of Defense sent him to Bahrain for a year. This was the fateful posting that tipped the first domino in the almost unbelievable series of events that led to his 2013 wedding to Alicia (See “International Love Story Covers Three Continents”).
Rebekah asked Andrew if there was anything worth seeing in his temporary desert home (other than, of course, Andrew). “Mama,” he said, “they have this really cool tree.”
We didn’t go. But Rebekah did research the phenomenon. And sure enough, right there in the middle of the dry, parched, sand on a dry, parched island in the middle of the Persian Gulf, there is a tree so unexpected and unusual it is recognized world wide as a significant site.
It is not certain – the encyclopedia reads – how the tree survives. Bahrain has little to no rain throughout the year. The tree’s roots are more than 164 feet deep, which may be enough to reach water. Some say the tree has learned to extract moisture from grains of sand. Others claim that the tree is standing in what was once The Garden of Eden and so has a more mystical source of water.
Over the years, Rebekah talked about this tree in a number of Bible studies and sermons, and it became somewhat of a bucket list destination for her. So this weekend, having finally made it to the island 12 years after learning about the Tree of Life, she got to see for herself.
Check out this 9-second video Rebekah took on the drive:
Andrew, Alicia, Mr. T., and Rebekah drove through the rocks and the sand until they reached the spot and, as you can see from their expression, the Tree of Life did not disappoint.
I am not sure – and especially on a communion Sunday – if the idea I am developing here can be any more clear. In far too many instances this world right now offers little but a broken, dry, weary, parched, and barren landscape.
But the invitation from Jesus is straightforward. “Come. Come home. You are welcome at my table.” The Tree of Life in Revelation 22 bears fruit for every month of the year, and for every tribe of people. And – get this – the leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations.
I believe that we are those leaves, the product of the tree. We take our nourishment and our refreshment from Jesus and we get to bring that kind of new life to a thirsty world.
Today is communion Sunday. So come. Come and be refreshed. – DEREK
(All photography in today’s post by Rebekah)