We were therefore buried with him in baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:3
RAIN FALLS ON US ALL
It was raining, big fat drops that overflowed the culvert out in front of our beach house.
“No beach today,” I said to my brother. We’d dashed across the puddles to our grandmother’s house and now stood watching the rain ruin our summer plans.
Grandma sat in her chair, rocking in rhythm to the rain. “It’ll cool things off,” she said. “It’s been real hot and the crops need some refreshing. God’s providing it.”
“But I wanted to build a sandcastle and jump the waves,” my brother complained.
“And I wanted to wear my new bathing suit!” I said.
Grandma put down her knitting. “You can still wear your bathing suits. The same water that’s falling outside is the same water that makes up the ocean.”
We were skeptical. “Mom won’t let us,” said my brother.
Grandma smiled. “I’ll talk to her. Why wouldn’t she want you to dance in the same water that baptized Jesus? Go get your suits on!”
MIRACLES ON THE JORDAN
God in his perfect creation of the world made possible the wondrous water cycle that keeps replenishing our world with water both fresh and salty. It’s the same water that’s been here since creation, the same water that Jesus drank and maybe, just maybe, the same water that flowed in the Jordan River. Since rain is rare in the Jordan Valley, the river is needed to sustain life.
But the Jordan is also the scene of many miracles in the Scriptures. In 1405 BC, Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan, the last obstacle on the forty year journey, bringing the ark to the land promised to them by God (Joshua 3). A few years later, Elijah crossed over the water and ascended into Heaven, leaving Elisha to take up the mantle (2 Kings 2). King Naaman was healed of leprosy by bathing in the Jordan (2 Kings 5). And it was at the Jordan River that John the Baptist began his ministry (Matthew 3:5) . It is no coincidence that Jesus chose to be baptized in the place that had always represented transitions. He even met his disciples there after His resurrection!
You see, the Jordan runs for 156 miles and feeds into the Sea of Galilee. But it doesn’t end there. It also flows through the Sea of Galilee–a source of food– and into the Dead Sea–named because there is no life in it and it lies at the lowest point of the world. That cannot be happenstance, but divine design.
THE NICENE CREED
The Nicene Creed recited in the Methodist Church says, “we recognize one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”, but nowhere does it command that we cannot continue to remember and celebrate the new life we have in Christ, not living in the Dead Sea but in the living water of the Sea of Galilee. The water of seas, oceans, and our own baptism perform another series of miracles in the world and in us: it smooths out the rough places, provides refreshment and cleansing, gives life, and allows the world a chance to renew (Matthew 5:45).
“Remember your baptism and be thankful” can be part of not just a baptismal service, but our everyday life as we bathe, swim, drink, and cook using the life-giving water God has provided.
DANCING IN THE RAIN
We can also, as my brother and I did on the rained-out beach day, dance in the rain. My grandmother convinced my mother that it would be perfectly alright for us to dash through the rain and splash in the puddles, enjoying the cooling water and getting our bare feet very muddy. As Vivian Greene once said, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but about dancing in the rain.”
Next time it rains, take the opportunity to “remember your baptism” and enjoy the refreshing rain. Go out and dance! It’s quite possible you might be dancing in water from the Jordan River!