Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Jesus continues to explain the metaphor of the vine further to his friends. Using the analogy of life flowing from the roots through the vine he speaks about staying spiritually connected to God. The Greek word translated abide is sometimes translated as live, dwell, continue, stay or remain and communicates a sense of perseverance. Endurance is a tough sell these days in this age of tolerance and understanding. Telling someone to believe even while enduring hardship is hard. Yet this is a message that calls us up to a higher place.
It is in such places of trial that fruit grows in our lives. As God's plow of affliction runs through our lives it gives us opportunity to sow heavenly seeds. Once the seeds are sown we are charged to water and cultivate the ground as we wait for fruit to emerge. Fruit takes time to grow and there are no shortcuts to the ripening of love, peace and joy. Yet it is essential to remember that fruit comes forth only when we are spiritually connected to the source of life. If we do not persevere in faith we are as useless as the withered branch.
Lord, you are the source of life. While I wait I will stay connected to you.