Life isn’t always what it seems. Is it?
Sometimes it’s rough and hard. Forgotten. Or lost in the mundane.
When you look at a sunflower seed (right before popping it in your mouth for a snack, or possibly prior to pouring into your birdfeeder for your feathered friends), it’s hard to believe there’s a huge green stalk, vibrant yellow petals and hundreds of other seeds inside that little striped shell.
In order for that tough exterior to realize its potential it needs warmth and water. It needs to germinate. Funny thing is, to reach it’s potential, the seed must give up. It’s just a housing; a beginning. And it needs to crack open to become a plant.
This is where soaking can come in handy.
For larger seeds, it’s helpful to soak overnight in warm water before planting in the ground. It softens the outer shell and hastens the germination process. A few hours are helpful, but overnight is even better. (Be prepared though, seeds must be planted immediately after soaking or they will rot).
While this practice applies to plants, the truth goes even deeper. Jesus tells his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
If we compare our human life to that of the seed, we recognize our physical limits. However, the process of soaking, of softening and opening, can likewise apply to the spiritual germ inside each of us.
And one way to help that seed open, is to soak. The truth of God’s saving grace can soften the hardest heart. It might not happen immediately, but given warmth and love, the crack widens.
In order to realize its bigger potential, the shell must be shed.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking of his impending death on the cross, but He is also encouraging his followers that there is a greater purpose for their life then the one they can see.
He goes on to tell them that those who love their life will lose it, and those who lose their lives in this world, will gain eternal life.
And just like the little sunflower seed: It’s not a question of will the seed end – but rather will it be crushed and eaten, or will it germinate to new, abundant life?
It depends on what you’re soaking in.
Here’s a handy list of garden seeds that benefit from soaking:
Cool Season Vegetables:
Warm Season vegetables:
Beans (Lima, Pole and Bush)
Squash and other vines (Zucchini, Cucumber, & Pumpkin)
For smaller seeds, here’s an interesting method from the gardenguides.com website:
Smaller seeds such as zinnia and marigolds can be soaked as well. Flatten out a coffee filter. Spray it with water. Sprinkle seeds on half of the filter. Fold the other half over the seeds. Place in a zip lock bag with a 1/4 teaspoon of water. Squeeze most of the air out. After 24 hours, open and snip the coffee filter into bits that have two or three seeds inside. Plant filter and all.
Annuals with a hard seed casing benefit from soaking. These include watermelon, cantaloupe and other melons. Avocado seeds will actually sprout and grow in water. Strawberry, raspberry and blueberry seeds may be soaked using the coffee filter method. Other seeds from tree fruits will most likely sprout, but the seed may not produce a tree that grows well. Most fruit trees are grafted onto a sturdy root stock or won't grow true to the parent because the fruit is a hybrid.
The ground is finally warm enough to get your plants started from seed. The moon is full tomorrow. Soak your seeds tonight. Let’s plant new life.