Most people who know me well realize I love to swim. I love the freedom of movement that is possible in the water. I can do flip turns in a way I could never do on land. But I also enjoy the physical sensations of jumping into the cool water, then feeling it flow through my hair as I push off from the side, and then, at the end of my laps, delighting in the steamy pressure of a hot shower. I walk out of the gym feeling fresh and clean.
In Matthew 3:13-17, Jesus approached John the Baptist and asked his cousin to baptize him. John protested, “I need to be baptized by you!” But Jesus insisted. So down they stepped into the Jordan River. The water touched Jesus’ feet, then his knees, his thighs, his torso. The water soaked his hair.
The Jordan River was not a clear brook. In flood season it became muddy. And worse, the river carried sulfuric deposits that produced an offensive odor. When the prophet Elisha told the leper Naaman to go and bathe seven times in the river, Naaman objected. Weren’t the rivers in his home country far cleaner and more pleasant than this smelly river in Palestine?
But Jesus did not protest. He and John entered the water together. He who was without sin entered a dirty river to be washed by a man who was a sinner! Why? Jesus humbled himself so that one day you and I could be truly refreshed and clean.
Today, as you take your shower and each time you wash your hands, watch the water flow over your skin, carrying away the sweat and grime of the day. Let the water remind you to ask God‘s Spirit to flow through your soul and cleanse it too.