I was introduced to another term from the vineyard a few weeks ago: véraison. This French word comes over into English and is used commonly in viticulture, in the growing of wine grapes to describe the changing color of the grape berries about a month and a half before harvest. Grapes change color from light green to either gold or purple depending on the varietal.
The fascinating thing about this old French word, according to my vineyard owner friend, is it also means “truth,” as in showing your true colors or being truly who you are. A quick etymological study reveals the root of véraison, “ver”, meaning ‘true’, as in the French word for truth, verite, also found in a genre of cinema known as cinéma vérité which uses realism or documentary improvisation to reveal the truth in a setting, even when this ‘truth’ sometimes is harsh or unpleasant.
This same root shows up in the Elizabethan English term for truth, verily. Whenever you read one of Jesus’ many truth sayings in the King James Version of the Bible, you will find a doubling of this term, as in ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit’ (John 12:24). The original language Jesus used was ‘Amen, Amen.’ The Hebrew word “amen” refers to what is true, trustworthy, solid, or secure. When Jesus doubles this term, he is inviting us to put our trust in the trustworthiness of God; to find our security in the truth of God’s dependable nature. What Jesus promises is trustworthy and true. Verite, Verily, Veraison. Two of the seven great I AM statements of Jesus relate to “truth”: ” I am the Truth . . . I am the true Vine” (John 14:6; 15:1). When we remain intimately connected to Jesus, putting our trust in Him, we will be transformed by God into our true nature. As we die to our false self, and begin to more fully abide in Christ, we will become more and more who God intends for us to be, bearing ripening fruit, as we will begin to reveal our true colors, changed by the divine grace of véraison.