“As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Sustain me with raisins; refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love,” Song of Songs 2:2-5. Encompassed by strong roots, the soft soil mounded to form a thick pillow underneath me. I lay my head against the solid trunk and drank scented air. The food was the finest in the land. I could hear it speaking into the chambers of my heart. “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price,” (Isaiah 55:1) it whispered, “Come to me, all who labor… .and… .rest,” (Matthew 11:28). Never pass up a free meal! I ran my right index finger over the rim of the silver goblet. I was about to drink the fruit of the vineyard….
Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We do what is right in the sight of God because we believe the message we have heard. And yet Isaiah laments, “Who has believed what they heard from us?” (Isaiah 53:1). So where, then, is this word that produces faith? “This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely heart, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear,” Matthew 13:13-16. It is figurative and it implies that hearing and seeing are of the heart. Christ’s words are spoken into the chambers of my heart. I rest in His good evaluation spoken on the inside.
The word of Christ was never intended to be understood from the outside. It was not intended to be a mere meditation for the unregenerate human heart. This word was and is intimately connected to it’s benefactor. He is one with His word. Therefore, it is transferred from new heart to new heart. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit with you, and cause you to walk in my statures and be careful to obey my rules,” Ezekiel 36:26:27. My Spirit! The labor of humanity is to fall in love with this sustaining and personal word spoken to our spirit. To rest in it. Eat it. Drink it. Accept it as true. Enjoy it. Delight in it!
“I am the true vine…” John 15:1. The word is intimately connected to the benefactor. The nutrients that bring life are intimately sustaining the True Vine. And He shares them with us. “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you,” John 15:3. Notice something: Christ caused the cleanness. Christ caused my cleanness. Christ caused your cleanness. It came to us as an intimate substance of the Spirit He gave us. It speaks a personal word of healing to the human it indwells. You are cleaned, you are healed, you are restored by the word He speaks to you. “Abide in me, and I in you,” John 15:4. Do you hear what I hear? The word of the Spirit of the One who loves you…. .on the inside. I delight to eat and drink this substance!
“Peter said to him, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean…’ “John 13:8-10. The internalized word cleansed the human heart. It took out the stone and replaced it with soft flesh. To be a part of Christ is to let Him wash us daily… .with His word. His cleaning, abiding, satisfying, sustaining good evaluation. He makes all things brand new on the inside.
I put the cup to my lips. A few inches beneath my nose swirl the aromas of the vineyard. This is His cup. He asks me to drink. I am a vineyard captive that has captivated His very heart. He is a vine of another vineyard. He is an Eternal Vine. “Drink,” He says, “drink of me.” If I accept this cup, I accept the proposal. I accept the rights to Him and He to me. I lose my rights to another life. “Drink,” He says, “And you will never thirst again.” And if I drink I internalize His lyrics of love, eternally, and I am not thirsty for any other love songs. I delight to drink!