Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:15-17
There was this spot in California where I used to go cliff jumping when I was in college. It wasn’t as high a cliff as I have seen some people jump but it was higher than any other leap I had taken. There is this moment in the air where it almost feels like you will never hit the water. It’s as if time stops for a second. Have you ever had that experience in your faith? That must have been a bit of what it felt like for these priests to step into the Jordan River. Okay, their lives were probably not at risk, they could step back out if nothing happened, but their faith was at risk. What if God didn’t do anything? Sure, they had seen God show up for Moses but he was gone now. Would God show up for Joshua?
The author also gives us a few details that indicate that this moment of equilibrium wasn’t super short. The waters piled up “a great distance away.” That means it took some time for the flow to pass by them. They were in a sort of faith trust fall and their feet felt pretty wet. I wonder how long it took? All we know is that by the time they reachedthe middle the water was not only past but, miraculously, the ground was dry.
What about your life? Have you ever felt like you were in a faith trust fall? There are times when we doubt that God can or will show up. There are even times when we feel like we stood there and he never did show up. The question this text poses to us is, how long can we stomach standing in the water? Will we step out before the river passes by?
Take a moment to read the short story found in Mark 9:20-24. It ends with the sick boy’s father crying out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Maybe that is a prayer that you can offer God when your faith is wavering.
By Aaron Bjorklund