“Father, what does this pile of rocks mean?”
A man walks over to the rocks, places his hand on top of one, peers out onto a river overflowing its banks trying to capture the scene he must explain to his son.
Another moment slips by, “Son, these stones are part of our heritage. Twelve men brought them up out of the bottom of this river when it was as high as we see it now.”
“Father, no one could swim to the bottom of this river and bring these big rocks up. They would drown.”
“Oh, drown they didn’t. In fact, they didn’t even get wet.”
“That would take a miracle, Father.”
The father peers into the water trying to see the past, “My son, Joshua brought our ancestors over from the wilderness into the land we now live in. They crossed on dry land, right here.”
“But, Father, you said this river was flooding!”
He pulls the boy closer to his side, “And so it was, son.”
“Tell me the story, Father.”
Setting the scene, “After forty years of wondering in the desert, Joshua and Caleb…”
“Weren’t they two of the spies Moses sent in to search out the Promised Land?”
“That’s right, son, the only ones who said they should go in and conquer the giants living here at that time. Forty years later there was only Joshua and Caleb left, all others had died.”
“Only two people?”
“They were the only two left who were over twenty years of age when Moses sent in the spies, son.”
“When they came to the other side of the river right over there, they stopped,” pointing to the opposite bank far away, “God told Joshua He would honor him like He honored Moses at the Red Sea.”
“You mean God caused the waters to part right here?”
“Right here, son.”
The boy looks out over the swollen muddy river as his father reflects back on how he felt when his father told him the same story.
“Why did Joshua have them pick up these stones, Father?”
“He proclaimed it as a monument; they are a reminder for all generations of God’s love, mercy, and power. There’s another lesson here too.”
Staring at the stones, “Tell me please, Father.”
“The Israelites were on the other side of this river, still in a wilderness. They wanted to get into the Promise Land but couldn’t. The only way they could do so was to wait upon the Lord.”
“The river would go down later in the year, Father.”
“Son, they could have waited for that to happen but God said He was in control. God parted the Jordan River, as He did the Red Sea. They crossed safely, not even their feet were wet. God told Joshua to have twelve stones removed from the river bed, one for every tribe, and Joshua made this monument. Nothing is impossible with God.”
They hear singing and see a crowd coming toward them.
“Son, you know who the one in front is?”
“Isn’t that John, the Baptizer?”
“It is, let’s watch and listen.”
John preaches repentance and baptizes those who respond. He sees more coming. They are dressed in fine linens, purple with broad, gold hems.
“Father, those men look so proud and important. Who are they?”
Before the father could answer, John’s booming voice captures everyone’s attention, “You generation of poisonous snakes, what has warned you of the judgment you face? Do not come here looking to glorify yourself. Repent and then be baptized.”
Contempt fills their eyes. John continues, “Do not be proud that you are the offspring from Abraham,” he points towards the father and son, “God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”
The father jumps when he hears the pile of stones creak and whisper, “Pharisees and Sadducees.”
The group turns and hisses throwing dust in the air, one calls over his shoulder, “You think dipping in that muddy water can make you clean, huh?”
“Father, I thought I’d see the stones turn to people when I heard that.”
“Me, too! I guess God made His desires perfectly clear.”
“Yup, but not as muddy as they think this water is, Father?”
Laughing, “Would you like to fulfill all righteousness and be baptized with me, Son?”
“I really want to, Father. That muddy water has never looked cleaner to me than now.”
Based on Matthew chapter 3:1-12
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