I believe that the words NOT written in the bible may be as important as those contained in the Bible.
Jesus starts this discourse in John 15 with those distinguishing words and he wants you to know that he’s the REAL deal. It’s really important to see Jesus identify as the REAL or TRUE vine. What he’s alerting us to is the presence of a fake vine. One that doesn’t do what we are looking for. One that doesn’t have our best interest in mind.
I think to my backyard. We’ve got vines everywhere. Growing up and down some of our trees. Some weaving their way along our back fence, they’re just all over the place. When we bought our house years ago, we had a terrible problem with poison ivy and poison oak. Our kids couldn’t walk outside without getting poison somewhere on their bodies and being tormented by it for days after. The stuff is terrible, especially the oak.
What I found was a vine about 2 about 3 inches in diameter growing up a huge pine tree. This thing was nasty and it was the heart of the poison oak. It made me think of this idea Jesus leads us to here, I am the REAL vine. It’s so important in our lives to be able to distinguish and identify the TRUE source of life and stay connected to that source.
We are so often tempted to disconnect from the vine so we can go out and explore life on our own. As Jesus points out here, he is the vine, and we are the branches, the reality is that a branch is always connected somewhere if it’s going to survive.
A branch is always connected somewhere if it’s going to survive.
Imagine if, you being this branch, were to disconnect from this healthy, vibrant REAL vine and went and connected to that nasty, hairy poison oak vine. What do you think you’re going to get out of life being connected to something like that? You’re going to get irritated, uncomfortable and a terrible itch that won’t recover for anything.
Honestly, this is one of the grave mistakes I watch people make all through their lives. They begin aligning their lives with something that is not going to give them any real gain. It’s a relationship, it’s a substance, it could be a career. It could be so many things! But what it ultimately is, is your connecting your life to a vine that is not the source of life you will thrive on.
Think of it this way. A couple of years ago, my son thought he would do me a favor and fill up my gas tank for me. Super sweet of him. The only problem was that he was 5 and to him, it didn’t matter what went into the gas tank as long as it was filling it up. So he found a container and began pouring water in the fuel fill port. Bless his heart!
(If you ever have that problem, you just need to pour in 3 bottles of Heat for every quart of water that went in).
What we learned was that quantity doesn’t equal quality. Just because it was filling didn’t mean it was going to work. So many of us are standing at a fountain today trying to get a drink of water that should be filling us, but the source we are standing at is only spewing out muddy water. Stop trying to fill and define your life at a source that promises an unending supply but of something that is going to deplete and destroy you! The thing we need the most today is to stay connected to the REAL vine.