Water Stories

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I kept encountering stories of water in the Bible this week. On my own, I read the story of Noah in Genesis 6-8 and the story of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 8.

Noah finds himself adrift and alone on a rising flood.

The disciples fight to keep their boat from capsizing in the midst of a storm.

I read and I wonder: Genesis 8 begins with the statement “But God remembered Noah…” Does this mean God has forgotten Noah during the 150 days the water has flooded the earth?

Matthew 8:24 says that “…the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” Does this mean God is numb to the disciples’ struggle?

Alongside the questions that rise to the surface of the waters in these stories echo our own desperate cries to God: Have you forgotten me? Are you numb to my struggle?

The questions crash against my soul in waves.

And then this morning in church, the gospel reading recounts the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3. Another water story. Jesus steps into the Jordan to plunge into its waters and rise to his calling.

The gospels are silent about Jesus from age twelve to the beginning of his ministry. Does this mean God the Father forgets the Son during those nearly two intervening decades? The timeline on the other side of the baptism leads toward conflict and misunderstanding and death. Does this mean God the Father is numb to the Son’s struggle?

It sometimes feels like the answer to all these questions is yes. God forgets. God sleeps.

But then, what is a reader to do with the rainbow

or with the sudden and inexplicable calm

or with the alighting dove?

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