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A to Z Answers: Recoiling at the River Jordan


Have you ever recoiled in repulsion during a religious experience? I know that sounds rather ridiculous, but it’s certainly possible in a fallen world.

Not long ago, I had the amazing privilege of visiting the Holy Land. While we were there, I opted to be baptized in the Jordan River, along with several dear friends.

I’d been baptized twice before, counting infant christening and immersion as a young adult. Still, the opportunity to share such a spiritual milestone with my fellow travelers seemed too good to miss.

We filed into the gift shop at the designated spot, situation along the Jordan River in Israel. We anted up our American greenbacks for the requisite white robes and towels. We slipped into flip flops and lined up at the crowded river gate that was designated for our group. And we waited for our turns in the river.

The water was murky and muddy. The riverbed was slimy and slippery.
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Still, we stuck with it.

“If it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me,” one cheery church lady chirped, as we waited in queue.

My moment of baptism has become a cherished memory. I’m glad I stepped into the waters of the Jordan River to confess my faith again and be baptized. I’m not convinced that there’s anything magical or mystical about the muddy water there, but it was a lovely landmark in my personal walk with the Lord.

It was a holy privilege to share the experience with a great group of fellow believers as well. We laughed and cried and loved our time together.

The whole Jordan River experience changed a bit, however, as soon as we stepped from the water.

As we stood on the shore, drenched and shivering, a friend showed us the video footage she had shot during our baptisms. She had intended to record us in the water with our pastor, but she had been distracted by some other spectators.

Look what she was watching, just a few feet from our baptisms.
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I can't speak for the rest of the group, but I know if I’d seen what was going on in the River Jordan while we were there, I might have thought twice about participating in the baptisms. Wouldn’t anyone?

Sometimes I wonder whether God shields our eyes from circumstances that might simply set us aside.

He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
(Psalm 91:4, NIV)

I think perhaps His wings covered our eyes, as we entered the water. And it’s a good thing they did.
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Related Items:
Image/s:
Yardenit River Jordan Baptisms
Creative Commons Licensing 
Jordan River video by D. Zeit
A to Z Blogging Challenge 2012 logo
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