Read Joshua 3:7-8, 14-17
7 The LORD told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. 8 Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’”
14 So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. 15 It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, 16 the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.
17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground. (NLT)
You can’t learn to swim without getting wet. You can’t live a life of faith without putting your toe in the water and wondering if you will sink or swim as a result. The Israelites found this out quite literally as they prepared to cross the Jordan into the promised land. God would see them safely across but first they had to get their feet wet. God most likely arranged for a landslide to block the river at a narrow point upstream. It was a miracle of timing. But the Israelites were not to know that. All they knew was that they (or more accurately their leaders) had to first go into the river. It would only dry up after they had done so. God wasn’t going to reduce the river to a trickle before they went into it. He would act, but they had to as well.
God so often acts and meets with us along the way, as we take steps towards him. He may invite us to take seemingly strange steps with no other assurance beside his promise to be with us. As those Israelite travelers got their feet wet in the still flowing Jordan, we might wonder what they were feeling. The cold rushing water told them they were in danger of drowning. The promise of God told them that they would cross as if on dry land. As is often the case, faith didn’t seem to make much sense. But it was by exercising faith that God’s miracle came to pass. If they had waited stubbornly on the safe shoreline they would never have seen the miracle. Only when they took a step of trust did the evidence of God’s power and provision become plain.
We best see God at work when we plunge into his work, when we have to rely very nakedly and seriously on his turning up and being faithful. Keeping our feet dry might seem logical and comfortable. But getting our feet wet through considered steps of faith opens the door to God’s mighty acts. To see God move, we need to move.