A Vinedresser of a working vineyard shares the interlinked relationship of the branches, Vine and Vinedresser from the “I Am the True Vine” metaphor in the book of John. Pam Farrel shares from her experience as a Vinedresser whose daily care of the vine caused branches to bear more fruit. She also demonstrates how you can creatively bring this passage of scripture to life through your Bible study and more fully understand Jesus’ role as the Vine and God’s role as the Vinedresser. Read more below for how you can use your creativity to study this passage in John in a deeper way.
If you’re looking for creative ways to bring scripture to life through your Bible study, you won’t want to miss the recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast where I chatted with Pam Farrel, the co-author of the new book, Discovering Good News in John: A Creative Bible Study Experience, about how to make our Bible study time more creative! Check it out here: How To Enjoy Creative Bible Study – Episode 190.
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
The True Vine
by Pam Farrel
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser… (John 15:1)
A few years before the writing of Discovering Good News In John: A Creative Bible Study Experience we downsized to move near my husband, Bill’s then 88-year-old- parents to help care give. To support our move, Bill’s sister and brother-in-law offered to have us live at their vineyard while we looked for a live aboard boat that would dock near the parents’ home. I was thrilled that for nearly a year, I would train as a Vinedresser of a working vineyard.
In John 15:1- 12, 16, the Bible shows the interlinked relationship of the branches, Vine and Vinedresser (emphasis added):
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he (Vinedresser) takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he (Vinedresser) prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I (Vine) have spoken to you. Abide in me (the Vine), 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 (the Vine). I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me (the Vine) and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me (the Vine) you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me (the Vine) he is thrown away (by Vinedresser) like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, (the Vine) and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father (the Vinedresser) is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my (the Vine’s) disciples. As the Father (the Vinedresser) has loved me, so have I (the Vine) loved you. Abide in my (Vine’s) love. If you keep my (Vine’s) commandments, you will abide in my (Vine’s) love, just as I have kept my Father’s (Vinedresser’s) commandments and abide in his (Vinedresser’s) love. These things I (the Vine) have spoken to you, that my (the Vine) joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. … You did not choose me (the Vine) , but I (the Vine) chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father (the Vinedresser) in my name (the Vine), he (the Vinedresser) may give it to you.”
In my role as a vinedresser, I daily walked the vineyard and my primary role, in every season, was to aid the vine in producing fruit by caring well for the branches. Right after the harvest, I walked through the vineyard looking for places to prune so the vine could produce more. When I would saw off a branch, we applied “b-lock”, a mix of nutrients and sealer, to bind up the wound to keep the good nutrients in and the bad elements out.
In the winter, we burned the tossed branches, then gave care to the soil to enhance fruit from the vine in the next season. As the branches began to bud, my role was to watch over the tender, vulnerable buds by trying to keep the bugs and birds away. In addition, there were measures to prevent freezing as the temperature dropped.
As the leaves grew thicker, and grape clusters began to appear, keeping the vines well-watered was key. Then, as the scorching sun beat down, I trimmed back sucker branches that had no fruit, so the fruitful branches could hydrate to increase the yield. I wired up the branches to shade the growing clusters and help support the branches as the fruit grew heavier. Then come harvest, as a vinedresser, I hand cut the beautiful, sweet grapes. In addition, the vinedresser also hosts a harvest celebration and leads the rejoicing for the bounty of the harvest.
My relationship with God grew as I daily prayer-walked the vineyard. Stepping into the role of the vinedresser, I felt the attention our Father in heaven extending to us, caring for our every need, so we could become branches who bear more fruit. I also saw the vital importance of being a branch secured strong and stable into the vine—the source of life and fruit.
Plan a vineyard excursion: Visit a winery to walk through the vineyard. Pull up an internet video and take a virtual walk. Maybe purchase grapes, jelly, or a beverage made from grapes, then picnic as you enjoy reading the John 15 passage above. In purple pen, underline your role and responsibility as a branch. Thank Jesus for being the Vine, the source of all the fruitful blessings of your life, family, and ministry. In a journal (perhaps with a drawing of grapes or a vineyard on the cover) begin an ongoing list, thanking the Vinedresser for the tender loving care He extends to you.
About Pam Farrel
Pam Farrel is the co-author (with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher) of the Discovering the Bible series including the newest Amazon bestseller, Discovering Good News in John. Pam is an international speaker, author of 58 books and along with her husband, Bill, Co-Directs Love-Wise ministry. The Farrels make their home on a live-aboard boat docked in the Pacific Ocean. www.Love-Wise.com
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Pam is giving away a free copy of her book, Discovering Good News In John: A Creative Bible Study Experience.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about the metaphor of the True Vine from the book of John and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
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The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, December 12, 2022. Continental United States only.