The time has come to cross the Jordan and for God to show that Joshua is His chosen leader. Just like with Moses at the Red Sea, the people cross the Jordan on DRY ground.
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“Is it time yet? Is it time yet?”
“Is it time yet? Is it time yet?”
“Not yet. Be patient!”
“Is it time yet? I’m so tired of waiting.”
“Not yet but very soon!”
“When is it going to be ‘soon’?”
“Watch! You see Michael over there? When he starts to move with his family, then we will be next.”
This conversation has been going on since last night. Jared is SO excited! Three days ago the whole camp moved from Shittim to right on the banks of the Jordan river. Yesterday they all purified themselves. Jared didn’t like taking a baths but if it meant they were going to be going across the big river he would gladly take one.
Early this morning, before the sun was even up, Jared’s family had been readying their belongings. They tore down their shelter, stored their cooking pots, rolled their mats, and hurriedly ate their breakfast. Now they sat waiting their turn. They were in the tribe of Benjamin so they were on the western side of the camp. They had to wait until the eastern side, the Levites, and the southern side set out before they could move. They were also on the outside edge of the outside tribe on this side of the camp. They would be among the last of the Benjaminites to set out.
Joshua had called the leaders of the tribes together three days ago and told them that they would be crossing the Jordan in three days. That makes this the day! Jared isn’t the only one who is excited. You can feel the current running through the whole camp! This morning Joshua called for the people to watch as the Ark of the Lord set out. “Watch and see what the Lord will do! As He did for your fathers and Moses, so He will do for you too. The waters of the Jordan will stand in a heap and you will pass through on dry ground! Then you will KNOW that the Lord your God is TRULY with you!”
That was hours ago. Jared had heard the stories of Moses and the people crossing the Red Sea all his life. He had never encountered a large body of water during Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness. He had seen lakes here and there but one could always walk around the lakes. Now they were on the banks of a river so big and fast that its very sound could drowned out the sounds of the camp. Just last night you had to shout to be heard above the roar of the water. Now that sound was missing. The sounds of the camp were all that remained. Jared even had a view of the river from his campsite, last night anyway. The river was nowhere to be seen now. Jared could hardly wait to get to where the river was so he could check out its bed. He and Michael had wondered if the fish would still be there when they ‘crossed over’ with their families. They had wondered what ‘crossing over’ meant too. Being seven there were a LOT of words that they didn’t really understand but they weren’t about to let their younger siblings know this. They had to be the ‘wise ones’ in the eyes of the younger children.
Michael has been as anxious to move out as Jared but he has learned to sit still because of the quick had of his mother. She always notices his movements even before he has a chance to move more than a hair’s breadth and she has a favorite way to reign him back in; his ear. His stick out more than the other children’s and he wonders if this is because she is so fond of grabbing it in discipline. He has been told to watch Kaden for clues to their time to move just as Jared’s mother told him to watch Michael.
FINALLY Kaden rises and helps his mother order his brothers and sisters to move out. Michael looks back at Jared and smiles. He knows Jared is watching him for a sign. He mouths the words ‘my turn next’ to Jared.
Jared and his family are nearing the banks of where the river was running just last night. The sun is not at its highest point of the day yet but it has climbed quite a bit already and Jared is feeling warm from carrying his portion of the family’s provisions. It is his job to carry the bedrolls of the children. He has done this job every time the family moves, at least for the past three years anyway. He is a strong boy and knows how to balance them so he doesn’t trip or drag one side on the ground. He wishes someone else had to carry them today though because he wants to be free to examine the place where the river was.
He wants to touch the ground with his fingers. He wants to poke a stick down into the darker ground to see how far it will go in. He wants to search for shells or fish that might have been left behind. He just wants a little extra time to take in this miracle!
Abigail, Jared’s mother, has always loved that her son is a ‘hands on’ learner. He has always been her most curious child. She wouldn’t be surprised if he was the most curious child in the whole tribe, maybe even in the whole nation of Israel! She sees the wonder in his eyes as they step onto the darker ground where the water has receded. She has her own burden to carry but she reaches out and plucks Jared’s from his back. He looks up in surprise and she smiles at him. “Go ahead. Touch it. You can explore as long as you stay close enough that I can see you as we cross. Just make sure you don’t go near the Ark or get in anyone’s way. Be beside me by the time I reach the other side.”
Jared cannot believe his luck! His mother’s gift will NOT go to waste. He will find a way to thank her tonight. He quickly steps out of line and moves to the where some reeds are growing. He grabs two long reeds that are sturdy. They should be able to penetrate the ground. He wants an extra stick so he can give one to Michael. He has been such a good friend to him. He even helped Jared come up with ideas of what they would look for IF they had the chance. It was Michael’s idea to poke a stick in to see how far down it could go.
Jared takes advantage of EVERY SECOND of his allotted time. He found the ground dry but not baked hard like the ground where they camped. He was able to push his sticks into the ground and even opened up a small hole that held a bit of water. There weren’t any fish lying on the bottom but there were some beautiful rocks. He picked up a couple small ones and pulled a few bits of river grass that were in the middle of the river bed. By the time he meets up with his mother as the family steps onto the other shore he is satisfied with his experiments and brimming with joy!
Jared quickly takes back his burden and begins to tell his mother about what he had learned. He chattered from that moment all the way to their campsite for the night. “Mom the ground was really dry! I touched it! It wasn’t hard or baked but it wasn’t muddy either. I put a little of it into the ends of my belt. Look at these reeds! I pushed them half way down! They are even wet on the bottom. How did the Lord do that? The Lord held the river back but He left the water under it. Did you see any fish? I didn’t. I was hoping I would. What do you think happened to the river? Will the fish be ok? I wish I could talk to a fish and hear what they thought about being stuck in the wall of water. I wish I could have gone to there the water was and looked at it…”
Abagail’s ears were as tired as her back was when they made camp that night but her heart was light. She gave her son an opportunity that few would EVER know. It was worth every second of the extra effort she had to expend to carry his burden. And if she were to be honest with herself, she let Jared do exactly what she wanted to do. To get her hands in and on one of the Lord’s AMAZING miracles. Yes, He gave them the miracle of the manna every morning but this one was a once in a lifetime miracle.
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I knew I HAD to tell this story from the eyes of a child. The wonder that he experienced that day is something I wish I could have been part of. God has done miracles for me too but not on that scale. He gives me the miracle of living through another day each morning. He gives me the miracle of sight so I can enjoy the beauty of His creation. He gives me the miracle of hearing so I can hear music and the sounds of my children and grandchildren. He gives me the miracle of smell so I can ‘drink in’ the fragrance of the roses that grow in my yard. He gives me the miracle of taste so I can enjoy a cookie with my husband. He gives me the miracle of love so I can feel connected both to those around me and to Him. He gave me the miracle of His love which brought salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice. And He gives me the miracle of His promises that I will one day stand in His presence. For ALL these ARE miracles and they are gifts from Him. I will explore them to the best of my abilities and thank Him for that chance every day.
Father God, THANK YOU for all Your miracles in my life. I can’t list them all for they are too numerous. Each one is precious and special to me. Like when my car was still covered under warranty when it technically had run out. Or how housing for my little family came at the right time AND was transferable to where we were going. Just a few of my favorite works YOU did.
Another of Your miracles that I enjoy all the time is Your gift of imagination. I LOVE how You let me climb into Your stories. I LOVE that You don’t scold me or tell me I’m being ‘stupid’ or ‘irreverent’ for looking through the eyes of the participants. I believe Your Holy Spirit spawns these stories in me. THANK YOU for them! Thank You for being REAL to me through this gift You have given me. Let me use it always in a way that gives You glory and NEVER takes away from Your word or wonder.