“If you want to survive in a dry place, if you want to go shamelessly green in the middle of nowhere, you must emulate alfalfa.  If you want to bloom vividly, you must learn to put down a tap-root that plunges to phenomenal depths in search of sustenance.”  Debra Marquart , “The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere”.

I was first attracted to Debra Marquart’s story about growing up on a farm in North Dakota as I enjoy autobiographies and biographies, and North Dakota is not all that far from my ‘neck of the woods’. It is an excellent account (you’re probably wondering if I ever read any horrible books—well, no further than the first chapter!) that provided a vivid, realistic picture of living, yes… out in the middle of nowhere, where your life may seem to be suspended in some sort of time warp that you’ll never escape from… oops, this is not a book review;  I want to make a point, and the above quote from her book really struck a chord with me, but in a slightly different way than she may have intended…

I lived on a farm for seven years where the income was derived from sheep, wheat, pasture rent and alfalfa.  Alfalfa is a perennial forage legume that is widely grown throughout the world as forage for cattle and most often harvested as hay. It can grow up to 3 feet high, and has a deep root system sometimes stretching more than 49 feet.  This makes it very resilient, especially to droughts”... 

I immediately noticed a similarity in the habits of a Christian; if one does not keep their nose in The Word of God, one will not survive in a dry place. If we want to be shamelessly, over-the-top-green, we need to be learning and applying God’s truth to our lives. How are we going to discern right from wrong (absolute truth!) if we don’t have a reference? How will we judge (yes, I can make a judgement!) what is evil from what is good? How do we discern what is from God and what is from the Devil?  Lines are constantly being blurred, changing moment by moment. You (I) need to be grounded–rooted in The Word to know what is right.

I’ll be skipping merrily along in life, not having read the Bible regularly through-out the week, and then, bam! All of a sudden a crisis or event sends me scurrying to The Word for answers, and when I find them, I cling desperately to them. But during that space of time, before the crisis and the process of leading up to it, there are those little nagging thoughts from the devil. Mostly they’re in the form of, “What will I do?” “What if..?”  They are fearful thoughts…  If I had been reading the word of God on a regular basis, I would have been more prepared to meet the crisis head on with a good measure of Christian maturity instead of fear and loathing. Instead, I am a sickly, dried up yellow. My tap-root is just a few inches long, and has not reached the depth necessary for me to drink in that Living Water… There is no fragrant flower, no bloom, in fact, I’m dying on the vine

In the book of Mark, Chapter 4, we read of the parable of the Sower and the Soils…  Verse 5: “Other seed  fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.”

This is an admonishment to and encouragement for me just as much as anyone else. Am I a sickly, withering green or a vibrant, growing green?  I need to take the lesson of the alfalfa plant to heart–my heart needs a deep tap-root. 

(Happy Valentine’s Day!)



5 thoughts on “Tap-root

  1. I agree with all that you wrote and feel it was a special valentine from God that I discovered your blog this valentine’s day. Please read my Feb 14 post on illumylife.com to discover how God is working in my life and the lives of my husband, children and grandchildren. Our dream is to make the movie, “A Matter of Convenience” which will glorify God and educate millions to know the truth.
    Thank you for your inspirational words.

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