Friday, March 7, 2014

The Jordan River!!

 Thursday, March 6, 2014

River Jordan is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah(-Michael Row the Boat Ashore)

Today was the day I took a dip into the Jordan River. On purpose. I had been looking forward to this day for several months, ever since I first saw the itinerary of this trip and saw that there would be a baptism service in the Jordan.

Wait a minute. I've aleady been baptised. Twice, in fact. But once I found out about this opportunity, I just had to, well, "jump in" at the chance.   I know I raised a few eyebrows when I told people that I was gonna do this (again).  Why is it necessary?  You know, it's not. But it's special.

Baptism is an outward sign of my faith. It is a public declaration that I absolutely believe in Jesus Christ and that He is my Lord & Savior.  It's publicly declaring faith in Christ and commitment to Him—an identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.1 It is absolutely not required for salvation -- nothing is required of us, except for our belief and God's grace. It's just a symbol that we do out of obedience. So, I suppose that my baptism in the Jordan is a symbol of a symbol. We only need be baptized once. There is nothing in the Bible about getting baptized more than once; and I suppose there's nothing there about being baptized only once, altho I know my theologian friends will correct me if I'm wronng!  People renew their wedding vows, and I'm seeing this as kinda like that. In fact, on the website of the place where we went to get baptized, they talked about rededications. I did talk w/ my pastor about getting baptised again, & he basically said that if I think it would help my faith journey, go ahead. So, ahead I went!

This baptism was even more special in that it was performed by our very, very, very good friends, Holden & Vicki Bowker. We love these people, and don't tell Charles, we really came to Israel because of them (altho we are thoroughly enjoying Charles and his teaching, and now consider him and Janet friends, as well).  When Vicki started to ask my "the question" ("do you believe...") when we were in the water, I couldn't look at her, knowing I would turn into a blubbering blubber-blub if I had.

We went to this place called Yardenit, a  place built just for Jordan River baptisms. This is what they do. We have to wear these white robes. Whatever. 

 I don't know what's up w/ my hands. I held them like that most our time there. Guess I didn't know what to do w/ them. But boy, I look all papal or something!

And down she goes! Holden told me that at that point Vicki said, "Should we let her back up?" Haha. They did.

So, what's the deal w/ the Jordan River? Why did I want to get baptized in it??  Before the service, I just told people on the tour that the Jordan River was very special to me in my devotional life, and I was gonna leave it at that, but then this guy on the tour asked me if I was gonna give my testimony. I wasn't planning on saying anything until he said that one of the best parts of baptism was hearing the testimonies.  I almost backed out, but then another gal on the tour encouraged me, saying that it might encourage others.  So, in about an hour or so, I scribbled down some notes in the bus on a pretty bumpy road, and this is what I shared the day I got baptized for the 3rd time:

I got baptised as an infant in 1963 or 1964. I'm ot sure... I wasn't good w/ dates back then.

I was baptized as an adult the year we were married in 2003.

Since that time, like you the Lord has brought me down some wonderful, glorious paths. And some... not so much.

In the spring of 2009, I went through some cahlelnging times where I clung to god more than I probably ever had at any other time in my life. 

One morning during my devotionals, I was reading Joshua 3, when Joshua led the people across the Jordan into the Promised Land... from the wilderness they had wandered around in for 40 years, to the land of their dreams.

But they had this obstacle in front of them -- a rushing, turbulent river. Now as hikers, Rich and I have faced some river fords. Most of them we crossed, but one, in Hawaii, turned me back.

I was facing a pretty big river to ford in my life in 2009, and the Lord brought me to Joshua 3.

I put myself in Joshua's sandles, facing that rushing river, trying to strike up the courage to dip my toe into the river ahead of us.

" And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lordthe Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” (Joshua 3:13) ...15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is besideZarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

And what came to me 5 years ago... before we saw it on Pinterest or on Facebook, was this: If God brings us to it, he'll get us through it.

If he brings me to it, He'll get me through it.

And He did, and I've depended on this several times since that morning in 2009, and I depend on it today.

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