In the parable of the sower, the Bible says: While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: A farmer went out to sow seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. Luke 8: 4-8
Three types of soil
All soil is made up of bacteria, minerals, and decaying matter. However, the amounts of each of these varies. In addition, soil comes in three particle sizes—sand, silt, and clay—that determine how much water and air the soil can hold. Too much sand and the soil cannot hold water. Too much clay, and the soil is so tight it cannot hold any air. Good soil, then, has a proper balance of the three particle sizes mixed with organic matter, minerals, and an appropriate amount of bacteria.
Some fell along the path
Jesus said: The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved. Luke 8:11-12. The soil is the heart. I imagine that these folks have hard clay-type hearts, pounded so tight that they cannot receive the good things God has for them. They cannot hold any life-giving air, the Words of Eternal Life that come from the mouth of Jesus. Because the Word does not penetrate their hearts, it is easily snatched away.
Some fell on rock
Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away. Luke 8:13. I imagine that these hearts are like sand. Because sand cannot hold much water, any plant that grows in sandy soil is usually a succulent that holds a reservoir of water. These hearts obviously didn’t drink from the eternal well of living water every day. When trials came, they had no reservoir of faith to draw from and they withered away.
Some fell on thorns
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14 These hearts are like the waste places of the world where lots of weeds grow. These usually have an imbalance of silty and clay type soils and hardly any minerals. I imagine a heart that is only partly open to the things of God and doesn’t engage in spiritual practices. This heart doesn’t weed out the distractions of the world and finds it easier to share space with the weeds rather than try to crowd them out.
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop. Luke 8:15
Good soil holds enough water and air. It contains the right mix of minerals and bacteria. This is the heart that regularly takes in nourishment from the Bread of Life. As it does so, it grows stronger and is able to reproduce itself through discipleship and evangelism. But, it is a persevering noble and good heart that produces a crop, not the one who sits on her hands.