Holy Land Adventure: When Life Presses

Looking gnarled, lined and thick around the middle is not how we desire to be. Our culture does not look at age with kind eyes. Instead, youthfulness is revered.

Yet, we can learn from the ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. They stand dignified under the walls of Jerusalem.  Solid and still bearing fruit.

olive tree ancient

If only we viewed each additional year of our lives as an opportunity to produce worthwhile results instead of longing to go back.

Some of the trees are thought to be more than two thousand years old. These are the actual trees under which Jesus and his disciples liked to hang out. This was their special place.

Many of the trees were pulled down by the Romans in 70AD.  However, the olive tree is not easily destroyed. If it’s roots remain established, it will grow again.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, new shoots grew out of the destruction of 70A, and the trees became strong again.  It is the new shoots that produce and hang with olives.

olive tree shoots

The green olives ripen and turn black after a soaking rain.  Then they are ready to be picked, pressed to produce olive oil.

olives3

The word Gethsemane means “olive pressing”.  It’s an appropriate name for the place where Jesus was pressed on all sides in an agony that reached to the depths of his soul.  Today, the Church of the Agony stands in the Garden, built over the stone where it is believed Jesus prayed “not my will but your will be done.”

olive press

Yet, out of that pressing and obedience shoots new life – not only Jesus’ resurrected life by new life for us, too.

Even though we may feel cut down by difficulties, or we no longer have use as the years advance, we need to remember the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane and draw strength from this ancient example.

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