Weeping Willows. A call to live as such:
Like green-growing waterfalls – their leafy shade cascades, bowing low to the ground. Hidden ‘neath the verdant canopy, is the secret place of the Most High. Come, hear the wind of His Holy Spirit as a whisper through the branches like the washing of the water of His Holy Word rattling through the rocky stream’s bed. Winter’s bitter cold may pluck its leaves but not mar its shape as in graceful maturity, it sways willowy in
majestic strength and honor. Soon to well-come spring’s eternal vernal, leafy re-generation! Drinking deep of God’s glistening “elixir of life” – water.
No matter the seasonal change or condition, dancing in the freedom of knowing their true identity. Even in the wind-down of autumn’s preparation for a long wintry nap, a brilliant blaze of glory – “going gold“, a fountain of lustrous transformation.
Willow, like the Feast of Tabernacles of the seventh month, represents The Annual Cycle and the mystery of the generations of man.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
Willow is an amazing plant, producing a huge variety of colors, and prodigious annual growth, up to 15 feet in some cases. There are over 1,500 varieties of willow, many of which can be used for making baskets and structures for the garden.
Willow grows from early March to mid-September, during which period it can grow inches per day in the right conditions. Planting is traditionally closely spaced, forcing the willow rods to grow straight and and tall to reach the light, which makes them ideal for basket weaving. It produces generous foliage during the growing season.
From mid-September to late November willow stops growing and gradually sheds its foliage. Between late November and early March willow is dormant and this is the season both for harvesting and for planting cuttings.
No dryness is completely terminal for the willow, for if allowed to re-soak, it emerges to a resiliency ready for service.
Willow is one of the few trees that can take root literally in nothing but water, and as mature trees they transpire hundreds of liters of water each into the atmosphere in a day.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast,
Jesus stood and cried out, saying,
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said,
out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” – John 7:37
Great Day of Salvation
On the seventh and final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Temple
services reached a climax. On the other six days of the feast, the silver
trumpets gave three blasts. On this day, the trumpets gave three sets of
seven blasts.On the other six days of the feast, the priests made but one
circuit around the alter. On this day, the priests made seven circuits. As
they marched around the alter, they sang the Hosanna verse (Psalms 118:25)
after which willow branches are taken from the lulavim and beaten into the ground three or more times giving all the glory to God in prayer for rain, as the rattling of the different branches sounds like rainfall, with the willow beating of Hoshana Rabbah meant to remind us of the falling of rain on leaves. Or the falling of the walls of Jericho.
The Willow is special because at the end of the 7 days, they alone are used on the one additional day for celebrating the bounty of this harvest period called Hoshanah Rabbah. On this last day, the two willow branches are supplemented with 3 more to form a bundle of 5 branches which are then beat on the ground after special prayers are read. The reasons for this custom are for the speedy arrival of the Moshiach (Messiah).
During the temple period, willows were also placed around the alter with their tops bending over the alter each day of the Sukkot.
As the leaves fall off the willow, they can be seen today as a symbol of fading, falling lives, or as a symbol of casting off our old and dying sins.
Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
John 12:23-26, “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”