Trees are a big deal in the Bible. In fact, apart from God and humans, trees are the most frequently mentioned living thing in the Holy Scriptures. You can hardly read one page without running into a tree of some kind. They are sneaky, though. If you aren’t looking for them, they are easy to miss.
Trees were the first gift given to the freshly created man and woman. “Then God said, ‘I give you every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.'” (Gen. 1:29) How kind of God to welcome them to the neighborhood with some fresh fruit.
Not only were the trees good for food, but they were also “pleasing to the eye.” (Gen. 2:9) Beauty was as important to the Creator as the bounty.
One of the most famous trees in the Bible is introduced in the beginning pages of the Word — the Tree of Life, planted by God Himself in the middle of Eden. It shows up again in the final pages of Revelation, as the central focus of the New Jerusalem. We are told this amazing tree will yield a crop of fruit every month and its leaves will heal the nations.
We could use some of that right now.
Until that great and glorious day, the closest thing we have to the biblical Tree of Life might be found in Bahrain, a small island nation off the northeast coast of Saudi Arabia. Out in the middle of an arid desert stands a 32 foot mesquite tree that flowers twice a year and has green leaves all year round. Scientists have been baffled for centuries by the aptly named “Tree of Life”, as it keeps growing despite any visible source of water. This mysterious tree is the only green plant for miles around.
Some believe this is the sight of the original Garden of Eden. At least, that’s how Bahrain’s tourism department is promoting their one and only attraction. Over 50,000 tourists visit the site each year. There are no vendors selling T-shirts that say, “I went to the Tree of Life and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”. But there are public restrooms and a security guard posted around the clock. You won’t find interactive videos or tour guides with a spiel, however there are rumors that an ice-cream truck might show up on weekends.
Due to vandalism in 2007, an iron fence now surrounds the tree. It’s too bad God didn’t put one of those up around that other tree in the Garden.
Travel blogger Anthony Middleton wrote succinctly about the sight of this lush tree in the Arabian Desert:
“It’s just you,
and your imagination.”
In case a sight-seeing trip to Bahrain is not in your future,
another Tree of Life is right here in America.
At Disney World.
It’s a fake.
I think you can get T-shirts there.