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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Dalziel

Broad Beans (26-06-2023)


After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14)


Those of you who have been reading my ‘Thoughts’ for a while now will know that I am undergoing a bit of an experiment this year. I am using a book titled ‘Veg in one bed’ in order to see if I can grow a greater variety of vegetables in my garden than I have previously done. So far I am really enjoying the experience. We have been eating fresh pea-shoots, radishes, salad leaves and potatoes all straight out of the garden. I have been determined to try and follow the advice and instructions given in the book as closely as I can however I did wonder if I had made a mistake when back in March I sowed my first ever broad bean seeds.

Why, you may be wondering, did I think that this might be a mistake? Well the simple answer is that I don’t really like broad beans, which explains why I have never tried to grow them before and why I have not eaten in years. My memory of eating them is of a bean with a rather tough exterior and a somewhat bitter taste. But the book said that broad beans were what I should be growing and so I sowed my beans, tenderly looked after them as they germinated into seedlings, planted them out in my veg patch and watched as they grew into lovely plants with really pretty flowers. Finally this month the pods began to swell and you could see that the beans were growing.

Last Sunday I picked my first proper crop of broad beans from the garden. I removed the beans from their pods and cooked them. I was not overly excited about trying them. I picked up one bean and placed it in my mouth. I couldn’t have been more surprised or pleased, the bean was lovely. There was no tough exterior or bitter taste to this bean that until about an hour earlier had been growing in the garden. I ate up all of my beans, happily enjoying every mouthful.

I was reminded of the incident recorded in John’s gospel when the disciples had been fishing all night and caught nothing. In the morning Jesus meets them on the shore and tells them to cast their nets on the other side. The disciples would have been tired, they had been fishing all night. They would probably have been disheartened after all the effort they had been making with so little reward. But they did as Jesus suggested to them to do and the results were amazing.

This challenged me. Do I always do what Jesus asks me to do or do I sometimes think that I know better. It might be that, like eating broad beans, I have tried it before and didn’t like it or tried it before and failed and don’t want to try again, or maybe I’m just too tired, but if Jesus asks me to do it then surely the risk is worth taking as the results may be truly amazing.

Prayer (John Bell and Graham Maule, song below)

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name, Let me turn and follow you and never be the same, In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show, Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.


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