“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8

I went to Israel on a study trip in 2014. Before my trip, I understood Israel was the “Promised Land,” a “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3). I didn’t expect there to be so much desert, so much desolate country, or so many rocks. I read the story of the 12 spies coming home with a single cluster of grapes carried between two poles and I imagined the whole country was extremely fertile, but these grapes came from a fairly small area—the Valley of Eshkol.

Since my visit, I loved to read prophecies which speak about the deserts and wastelands in Israel being transformed, and there are lots of them. Like this one, “He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD” (Isaiah 51:3).

When these “fertility” prophesies were given they were believed to refer to the time when the Jews would return from the Babylonian exile however, we’re still waiting for their fulfilment. In modern Israel (and even in ancient times) the authorities solved the problem of lack of water through amazing engineering feats. They store huge amounts of water underground and divert water sources to ensure adequate (but not abundant) supplies for crops and homes. Yet God still longs to bless his people with rain, not just an adequate supply, but an abundance that would turn the wastelands into gardens.

Likewise, God longs to bless us with spiritual rain, that would turn our barren Christian witness into fruitful gardens of abundance.

More of my devotions from the book of John can be found here and devotions on themes from the New Testament can be found here.