I have fallen in love with the sweet, juicy pomegranate seeds that not only look lovely piled into a small bowl, but make my morning granola or oatmeal quite scrumptious. Here at Growing Nations an entire line of pomegranate trees bloom beautifully, making a hedge around the south end of the fields. The fruits are large and round and ruby red, perfectly ripe for the picking. So I pick at least one a day, and I peel it (a process that several South Africans had to coach me through), and we all enjoy the soft seeds throughout the day.
The pomegranate (like all fruit) is a miracle. It is a storehouse of nutrition, antioxidants, and purification. Not only is it healthy, but its beautiful skin hangs tightly to the branches on one end while the bottom looks more an odd little open mouth with pointy lips slightly parted. And inside the fruit are wonderfully neat sections packed tightly with red fleshy seeds. The seeds are sweet and very satisfying on a hot day.
In the Bible, pomegranates were used as decorations on the hem of the priestly garments. And in 1 Samuel we also read that this same fruit adorned Solomon’s temple. The 12 spies who went into the Promised Land came back giving testimony to the richness laying there: “It has pomegranates!” And later King Saul, too, rested under the shade of this same fruit tree.
For centuries pomegranates have been sought after for healing properties as well as many uses for the skins (The Romans dried them out like leather.) And today, pom juice is considered one of the key drinks for a healthy detox or for coming out of a fasting period.
Isn’t it amazing that God has hidden beautiful answers to worldly problems in nature, all around us? Part of the great mystery of serving the God of the universe is wondering where we will find the next cure, or another source of energy, or a food that can fill our bellies and prolong our lives. The daily inventions and discoveries that fill our news feeds and wow our minds are almost always rooted in some natural source, some fruit or plant or mineral that God created eons ago. His provision is all around us, and I believe He takes great delight in our seeking Him.
We have found Him here: in Lesotho, a small but beautiful country nestled in southern Africa. We have found Him in the smiling faces of our African classmates; we have found Him in the morning praise songs we share in multiple languages. We have uncovered mysteries of God around the dinner table as we taste foods from each others’ homeland, on long dusty roads, as we share our stories in cramped vehicles. His love wakes us up every morning in the shrill song of the hadada bird, an ibis I have learned to appreciate. His love is in bloom- in the wildflowers and the rosehip bushes that guide our paths as we walk from place to place going about our work. And His love was on full display one particularly colorful evening when a full double-arced rainbow stretched out before us as we sat on our back porch in the breeze.
God is all around you as well, and the scene is breath-taking. He is creative and artistic; He is bold and He is lovely. I pray that you, like me, have put aside some of your man-made distractions and reached out for beauty of God that He has hidden in plain sight for you.
And if you ever get the chance, pick and peel and eat a pomegranate!