The Dandelion’s Secret

Dandelion blooming in cracked, very dry mud.I find this image fascinating. The dried mud is cracked and parched. No drop of rain has touched this ground for a long time. Yet in the midst of this dried out, barren earth, a dandelion thrives. How? A dandelion isn’t like a cactus, used to surviving in an arid desert climate. This plant needs a steady supply of water. So what’s the secret of this dandelion’s survival?

Obviously this dandelion must be receiving water from a hidden source. Not from a human gardener–in America the dandelion is seen as a weed. But this dandelion has something special; a deep taproot.

Plants develop either a fibrous root system or a taproot. Fibrous roots branch continually and spread out in the soil. A plant with a taproot has a single root that grows rapidly downward, with other smaller roots coming out of the large one. A dandelion’s taproot commonly grows 6-18 inches in length, but it can go much deeper. Our “problem weed” can sink a taproot 6-10 feet straight down through the soil. By persistently growing downward, the dandelion in the dried up mud struck water deep underground.

There’s two spiritual points I want to make in this post. First, God has never created a weed. In His eyes, dandelions are delightful.A dandelion blooming in a spider's dewy web.They are tough, hardy plants which grow everywhere except in the driest deserts or in places like the South Pole. They also don’t require any insect pollinators. This particular dandelion pushed through a spider’s web and then flowered. When it goes to seed, depending on which way the wind blows, the web’s owner could face a lot of clean-up and repair work.

A dandelion puffball with half it's seeds missing.Our Creator never made any weeds–and He never created any useless, disposable people either. As a baby Christian, I had a damaged self-image. When I came to know the Lord, I felt like I was just part of the “Michigan quota of people being saved” that year. One of my mentors, Barbara, kept speaking these words to me:

“Maureen, God made you and God doesn’t make junk.”

Eventually that truth sunk in. Today I know I am valued by my Creator and my Lord, simply because He chooses to see me as valuable.

The taproot of a turnip, which includes the turnip portion.My second spiritual point is actually an exhortation: develop a deep taproot in the Lord. The dandelion didn’t suddenly grow a deep root after all the water dried up. The taproot’s growth occurred earlier. Likewise, we can learn to trust and depend on the Lord in our everyday lives, so when a crisis hits, our confidence is already rooted in Him.

They (faithful believers) will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

So what are you doing today to grow a deeper spiritual taproot?

The dandelion puffball image is from Morguefile.com; all other images are from Pixabay.com.

Fun Facts:

Carrots, radishes, sugar beets and turnips (pictured above) are all taproots and staples in the American diet.

Dandelions are thought to have been deliberately introduced into this country from Europe or Eurasia. These plants have a very high nutritional value and have been used medically to treat many illnesses, especially digestive complaints.

Dandelions absorb more nutrients and minerals from the soil then many other plants, so the leaves contain high levels of iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorous.

Dandelion leaves have higher concentrations of vitamin A than almost all the other fruits and vegetables.

Resources:

My facts about dandelions came from three sources:

Penn State Extension (click here)

University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources  (This college resource claimed the dandelion could grow a taproot up to 15 feet long.) (click here)

Wikipedia: A basic understanding of taproots. (click here)

 

 

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