Parable of the Sower – The Rocks

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There is abundant evidence that human beings were working stone over two and a half million years ago. Early humans were making Acheulean axes and other large cutting tools over one and a half million years ago.

Two hundred thousand years ago middle stone age tool kits included scrapers, stone awls, the points of spears. And yet, two thousand years ago and even today, anyone working the land would regard a field of stone as a royal pain in the . . . 

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus described such places as having “little soil.” It would quickly dry out which meant that seedlings would usually be unable to obtain the necessary moisture and avoid withering in the hot sun. They would be unable to put down roots so even if they emerged in spite of such conditions, they couldn’t be relied upon to weather even a short period of drought.

Veteran cosmic rockers can recall the lyrics to a song by the Rolling Stones that includes the chant: “I ain’t got no love, I ain’t the kind to meet. ‘Cause she’ll never break this heart of stone.” The people listening to Jesus were equally well versed in Ezekiel and the chapter where God said: “I will give you a new heart and take away your heart of stone.”

Our own endurance is dependent upon the ability to put down roots. When our relationships are shallow, when our friendships are superficial, and when our communities are inauthentic, we are at risk. Working to maintain relationships can be difficult. It may involve breaking rocks, preserving what little soil we have, and even bringing in the human equivalent of soil amendments.

Where the relationships are worth having because others value them as much as we do, we would not be unequally yoked while we work the soil. In fact, where values are shared, where we are equally yoked with our cohorts, the work can be far, far more enjoyable. We are constantly reminded that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Shallow soil makes it difficult to build authentic communities. We are wholly dependent on individual relationships and hopefully these are truly genuine. Deep seated, positively symbiotic relationships occur when they are reciprocal, mutually beneficial, and complementary.

We live in a time when stone can quickly be turned into the kind of dust that can prevent soil from being compacted. It can also sometimes, through abrasive action, polish the gems of truth that we acquire in the rough. The growth that occurs in the depths of our souls, thanks to obstacles along the way is seldom achieved through just accepting the kind of situation where we are between a rock and a hard place.

Sometimes it may seem as though a field of stone is all we have within a material world. And yet, in this designer universe, the same atom that can cause kidney stones or calcify arteries, contributes to the strength of our bones and the bricks we use to build our homes.

With the right attitude, the worst case scenario can become the most stimulating challenge. Just how we rise to meet any given problem is usually a matter of spiritual idealism, of our enthusiasm for life.

Agrarian societies tend to gravitate towards the fertile bottom land where the river and all of its tributaries contribute to soil tilth as well as gut flora.There is, however, intense competition for lands that are ideally suited for providing nourishment. The Aztecs found their promised land on a small island at the center of Lake Texcoco. they lashed reeds together and built rafts on lake wetlands freshwater swamps. They scooped mud off the bottom and piled it onto these rafts to serve as soil for their produce.

The plants would send roots through the soil, penetrate the bottom of the raft, and derive nutrients directly from the waters and later the deposits on the bottom. This heroic survival story included tales of these “Chinampas,” that either included a gardener’s hut or were adjacent to the gardener’s household. The gardener would pole the raft-garden to the marketplace. Eventually these rafts were lashed together and poles were driven into the lake bottom. The island became the city of Tenochtitlan and later on, Mexico City.

Other, equally tenacious civilizations found ingenious ways to move water up hill. The hanging gardens of Babylon may eventually inspire a growing dome over your kitchen, rivers running atop the walls of your house, food and flora whenever and wherever you want or need it. And this is why the Parable of the Sower and the lessons that relate to providing favorable conditions for growth, will always ring true.

Today, crushed rock is used in most hydroponic systems. And, approximately one third of the recorded words of Jesus are in the form of parables. These parabolic analogies, many of which focus on spiritual growth, gracefully transcend time. Perhaps this is why we see so many signs that say “You are closer to God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.”

Tooling Up for Hydroponics

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