Today's wildflower prefers cool climates and thus our extreme heat and dry weather has not helped my plant to reach its full potential. So is it with you and me. Life that is centered on God's presence can reach its full potential, but a life that ignores God faces spiritual drought.
The hyssop plant in my yard is a transplant purchased at the Native Plant Arboretum of Perimeter College's Panthersville campus about 10 years ago.
It has salmon colored blooms, but other varieties range from white to purple. The blooms occur at the axils of leaves as pictured and measure about 1 inch long and inch wide. The stamens and pistil extend beyond the lips of the petals.
The narrow leaves measure about 1 inch long, but only inch wide and are opposites. They are very aromatic and often added to potpourri. The stem is square and becomes woody as the plant ages. Fully grown plants stand about 4 feet tall. The habitat includes full sun and a well drained alkaline soil.
There has been a debate over the identification of this herb. For over a century, biblical scholars have debated if the name "holy herb" was hyssop, oregano, savory or the common reed. Most support went for oregano, until an important discovery was made that the mold that produces penicillin grows on the hyssop's leaves.
Hyssop is mentioned six times in the Bible. The earliest record is Exodus 12:22 when it was used as a paint brush. During the final plague in Egypt, it was used to spread lamb's blood on the lintel and two door posts of the Hebrew homes before their escape from bondage. Those Hebrews that ignored Moses' instruction suffered the loss of their eldest son, the same as the Egyptian's did.
Second, Hyssop was used at the consecration of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Hebrews 9:19). Next, when a person had contracted leprosy, the house and the temple were cleansed by wiping the walls with Hyssop (third in Leviticus. 14 and fourth Numbers 19).
The fifth record is when King David repented of his sin with Bathsheba. In Psalm 51:7 he wrote "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
The sixth reference is during Jesus' crucifixion when Hyssop was dipped in vinegar and wiped across Jesus' lips to ease the suffering.
A Christ-centered life begins and matures with the prayer, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is email@example.com or call him at 770-929-3697.