The root is a part of a plant that is usually hidden underground. It is the so-called ugly part that will not bloom or produce leaves and thus is better kept out of sight. Am I right? Are roots important?
Why does a plant need roots? Roots are anchors, they provide nutrition and absorb water and even store nutrients and energy. Roots play an important role in the life of a plant.
But how does a root function? How can it absorb water? Is there a pump or suction system somewhere?
The secret of the root is called "osmosis." What does this word mean? Let us imagine two cavities filled with water, separated only by a thin wall. Somebody has put some salt into one of these cavities. The wall is like a very fine filter with pores so tiny only water can pass through them. Of course, the dissolved salt can't pass through the wall. But now the molecules have a basic need to disperse homogeneously. They want equality or harmony. Different levels of concentration are something they detest. But now the filter is their barrier (otherwise the salt particles would cross over to the unsalted cavity until there is an equal amount of salt in both) and they have to solve their problem in another way: the water from the saltless cavity is transported through the filter into the salty cavity and dilutes the salt content until the concentration on both sides is the same. Now one cavity has more water than the other, but the molecules are content. In other words, the concentrated solution sucks up the water.
Thus it is important that the cell fluid of the roots has a higher salt concentration than its surroundings. The root can only absorb water and pass it on if this is so. It is the salt that makes the water enter the roots. The root becomes "attractive" to its surroundings through salt.
Matthew 5:13 says, "You are the salt of the earth." Does Jesus mean that our lives will be so full of salt through Him that it will be attractive to those around us?
Osmosis can only happen in the direct surroundings, in the contact zone. It doesn't work through thick walls. The Ficus Benjamin in my husband's office will hardly get its water from the Scottish Highlands or the Fiji Islands.
In order to be attractive as Christians, we have to fulfil a basic requirement, we must get close to people. We have to pull down our fortifications and allow contact. Yes, even seek contact. We have to offer an "exchange area" in order to permit something to get close to us, to touch us. Christ's salt in us can make this happen.
A little plant has a lot of work to do to live and produce fruit. Did you know that the roots of a single wheat plant would be 80 kilometers long if we put them in a row? Eighty kilometers! For one plant! How many grains will it produce? A pinch of flour?
Are we prepared to go to as much trouble for just a little bit of fruit? Are we willing to make the effort and expend the energy it takes to grow strong roots even if the fruits of our labor may seem small?
Just as the root is hidden in the soil, others will not be able to judge how much effort goes into growing our roots, but be assured, the effects will be great.