Gardening was a hobby adopted later in my life. I enjoyed growing herbs, simple wildflowers, and some vegetables. Things like basil and zucchini are some of my favorite things to grow because they develop quickly, and the harvest is bountiful. Other plants take more care and attention, and it may be a much longer wait for a much smaller yield. These are the plants that usually bring me the most satisfaction and joy.
When we lived in Georgia, we had two small apple trees planted. I knew it would take years to see fruit, but the prospect was exciting. Then, just one year later, we packed up our things and moved across the world. I will never see an apple on those trees.
Several weeks ago, a new friend pointed to a tree in my front garden. “It’s a mango tree,” she explained. “Yes, but it hasn’t produced any mangos this year; I think it’s too young,” I replied. She continued, “It is young but will bear fruit in a season or two. The family that planted it left you a gift.”
Spiritual fruit can be similar to the apples and mangos in my life. Often the seeds we sow become fruit unseen— to us, anyway. In John 4:1-26 we read the story of the woman at the well. The story’s significance is Jesus and the Living Water that He alone can offer, but there is also a picture of fruit unseen if we look closely.
Often the seeds we sow become fruit unseen
In verses 5-6, we read, “So [Jesus] came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.” In verse 11, we read further about the well, ‘”Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”‘
Jacob dug the well in Samaria hundreds of years before this woman, or Jesus, was born. The promise of a Redeemer existed in Jacob’s lifetime, but by faith, Jacob lived and died. (Hebrews 11) Did Jacob know the significance of the well that he dug in Samaria? Could he see the desperation and thirst of a sinful Samaritan woman whose need could only be met in Jesus? Did Jacob live by faith, even when the fruit was unseen?
We may never see the fruit, but we may be digging the well where someone else will meet Jesus.
Jesus is greater than Jacob. His ways are higher, and He holds all things together. (Colossians 1:17) We can trust God to work all things together for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) When we walk in obedience to Christ and follow Him by faith, we may never see the fruit, but we may be digging the well where someone else will meet Jesus.
I will never see an apple on the tree planted in Georgia years ago, but I may pick a mango from a tree in my garden next year. Someone planted seeds, and the apples and mangos will bear fruit, whether I see it or not. Whether physical or spiritual, fruit is a gift from a good Father, and we can be grateful and encouraged even if we aren’t the ones to see it.