We moved slowly through the dark murky waters of the Amazon stopping just within sight of Pucullpa itself. Our days journey included a visit to a small Indian village where we did the customary haggling for everything we bought. The day was hot and the water slow moving yet I thought, “We are sitting in a boat, dragging on hands in the ancient and legendary Amazon.” I may have been far from Northern Virginia, but the mentality of haste still clung to me harder than my strength to shake it.
Finally…we landed our ship, our cruiser of sorts, on a small grassy embankment and made our way through clumps of tall grass towards our team leader John Park. He was now earnestly searching for the right spot and good footing along the slippery bank of this mysterious Amazon. The right spot for a baptism.
Where was Susan? She was nearby, and probably nervous. You see, it was her baptism. As we watched, Susan confessed her faith and was submerged in the murky Amazon. It was only for a moment, or perhaps an eternity, but certainly what transpired there will not soon leave any of our minds. Immediately she was drawn from the water—a new creation.
There was a moment of silence as she hugged John. A moment of awe as she, struggling to walk, trudged through the ankle deep water and reached her now very emotional teammates. It was a powerful moment.
Something was quite unique and amazing about the exotic and mysterious Amazon. Something marvelous and grand about the passing from death to life in such ancient waters. Something intensely wonderful and exciting about the two being in one place, in one act for one person.
It was a new Susan, buried with Christ and raised in newness of life. Yet it was the thick odorous water of the Amazon she wore on her outer flesh. It was the real and present stench of hers and our humanness she wore. I told her she smelled and we laughed. The Amazon water mingled with her tears and she cried. Perhaps she can explain to you–why joy makes us cry.
Here where the wondrous and mysterious meet, where the exotic and amazing converge, there is still the humanness of it all. The smell and filth clinging to her were stout reminders of the need for God’s continued grace. Our newness has not empower us beyond the need for grace. Susan was not materially cleaner or richer but spiritually spotless and sweet to smell.
This was a grand beginning and we have yet to see the end. I catch my breath to think of what she will be when it is all complete. When His work in her is done. What our eyes and nose did not tell us, our hearts knew. Our hearts and hers new.
Copyright(c)1998 Hudson Russell Davis