In the 1960’s two thousand year-old seeds were discovered in the excavated ruins of Herod the Great’s Palace. They sat in a drawer at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University until 2005 when a botanical researcher decided to plant one of the seeds as an experiment. Not much was expected. After all, the ancient seed had surely died inside.
The seed sprouted. It turned out to be a Judean Date Palm. These trees, prized for their fruit and their shade, once flourished in Israel. Invading armies destroyed them as a vengeful act against the Jews. The tree became extinct around 500 A.D.
By 2011 the three-meter date palm had produced its first flower. “He is a big boy now,” says Elaine Solowey, the director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel. “He’s got a few offshoots, he has flowers, and his pollen is good.” The tree now produces dates.
Seeds are resilient. They travel on the wind . . . maple keys have little wings that carry them long distances from the parent tree. Seeds are scooped up and re-distributed by birds that drop them haphazardly on their journeys. Natural disasters like floods uproot seeds from their natural habitats and carry them to new locations. They bloom wherever they land.
Once, an infant morning glory showed up in my side flower bed. It wound its way upward and through the fence boards and blessed me with a glorious crop of blue trumpets. I did nothing to deserve this blessing but allow a little sprout a few inches of my garden’s soil. The plant paid me back a hundred fold and more.
I loved this flower, saved its seeds and planted it for many years. (The photo shows it growing up a trellis on my front porch.)
Perhaps you’ve planted spiritual seed that hasn’t sprouted . . . yet.
Keep nurturing it. It might not show promise today, or even tomorrow. But, at God’s appointed time your precious long-forgotten seeds will show evidence of life.
“Let us not lose heart . . . for at the appointed season we shall reap if we do not loosen and relax our courage.” Galatians 6:9
The “extinct” date palm is thriving and re-producing itself.