The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
Genesis 7:24 (NIV)
Most of my childhood was spent in or around water. I swam competitively starting at an early age and continued into high school. Our family vacations were at lakes where we would swim, ski, boat, and fish. And of course, my folks retired to a place on the lake which Wendy and I now own and where we retreat multiple times each year. And, going on a cruise is my favorite kind of vacation. Going on a round-the-world cruise is something I would love to do before my earthly journey is finished.
I love water. I love the recreation, joy, and peace that I find in it, on it, and being around it.
And yet I have also experienced water’s destructive power. I have vivid memories of being on the water in dangerous situations. I remember surviving 10 days with out fresh water due to the Great Flood of 1993 shutting down the Des Moines, Iowa Water Works. We have experienced some of the worst flooding on the lake and have witnessed the destruction it unleashes.
The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most well-known stories from the Great Story. Many people, however, don’t know that cultures around the world, on every continent, have some version of an ancient flood story. There are some 35 different flood stories documented that bear at least some resemblance to the story of Noah in Genesis. I find that fascinating.
The flood of Genesis was destructive, but it was ultimately about the reordering of creation that I discussed in yesterday’s post. It ends with a covenant and a promise. And the water of Noah’s flood serves double-duty as a metaphor for what would become the sacrament of Baptism. Peter wrote:
You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience. 1 Peter 3:20-21 (MSG)
When a follower of Jesus is baptized by immersion it is a word picture of being buried (in the water) as Jesus was buried, being raised (out of the water) as Jesus rose from the dead, and having sin washed away by Jesus, the Living Water.
The water in today’s chapter was an agent of divine judgment and is transformed into an agent of divine redemption, and that is a beautiful picture of Great Story itself; God redeems my sinful self through a cleansing flood of Jesus’ grace and forgiveness.
Some mornings as I stand in the shower, I am reminded of Jesus’ cleansing of my life. It’s a good thing not only to have my body washed and ready for the day, but to recognize that my spirit is equally washed and ready.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.