Join us again tonight, 7:00 pm, to continue our journey through Lent that is focusing on “Returning from Exile.” Come at 5:30 pm for a light soup and sandwich supper before the service provided by the members of the Board of Missions and other.
Tonight looks at the water motif of our return from Exile. The “Water” motif is perhaps one of the most well-known and most attested in Scripture. In the beginning, life was brought forth from the waters, but after the fall the waters also began to bring death. We first see this dual reality in the flood of Noah. The waters of the flood destroyed the world and all the evil people, and yet, at the same time, the waters saved and gave life to Noah and his family, eight people in all (1 Peter 3:20–21).
Following the flood, the motif appears again in the life of Moses. Hebrew baby boys were being drowned in the waters of the Nile, but Moses was placed in his own ark (basket) and saved by these same waters. Then, as the Israelites were fleeing the land of Egypt, the waters of the Red Sea were parted and the Israelites were saved, but the evil, hard-hearted Egyptian army was drowned in these same waters.
When the Israelites passed through the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the waters were parted again. In this case, the wilderness was a place of death and evil, but the Promised Land was a place of life and the Lord’s presence.
The account of Naaman and Elijah continues the motif. Naaman descended into the waters of the Jordan, a dead man with leprosy, but he came out with new flesh like that of a baby. Jonah was swallowed by the great fish and went into the depths of the sea for three days; but then he was vomited out on dry ground with new life. Even Jesus refers to this event as a sign of His own death and resurrection as He spends three days in the tomb and then rises to new life.
Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River shows a great reversal of the motif. As He is baptized, He does not receive life by the cleansing of His sins; rather, He takes on all of our sins as He becomes the Sin-bearer. For us, Baptism is our part in this biblical motif as our old Adam is drowned and the new Adam comes forth.