“For the waters of Nimrim will be desolate, for the green grass has withered away; the grass fails, there is nothing green…. For the waters of Dimon will be full of blood; because I will bring more upon Dimon, Lions upon him who escapes from Moab, and on the remnant of the land.” (Is. 15:6, 9)
When we read passages of judgment, passages like this full of cursing and destruction, we must read them in faith, remembering all that we know about our God. We know that God created the waters. He set the boundaries o f the seas, and He rules over their chemical compositions perfectly. God gives life to the barren womb; God turns deserts into gardens. From the barrenness of nothing, God created the universe hovering over the waters. In the midst of the destruction of the flood, the Lord saved Noah and remade the world through one family in a vineyard. Later when the people of the Hebrews were enslaved in a foreign land, Yahweh again struck the waters and they turned to blood, and later He struck the waters and they divided so that the people crossed over on dry land.
When waters become desolate, when the green grass withers, when there is nothing green, and the waters are full of blood, we have seen this story enough to know that God is up to something. Even when lions are attacking the refugees, the people of God know that something is up. Right at the point at which it seems everything has unraveled, the people of God know that God’s justice is not merely punitive, it is not only destructive, if the history of God’s dealings teaches us anything, it teaches that God’s actions are also restorative, His actions are always also creative and medicinal. When God strikes His people, He comes to heal them. If God strikes the nations, His justice is coming to save them.
Ultimately we see all of this in Jesus. In the life of Jesus we see the barren, virgin womb hovered over by the Holy Spirit conceiving the new world in the womb of Mary. In baptism of John, we see the world called to repentance through the waters of the Jordan. At Cana, water was turned into wine. When a storm rose on the sea of Galilee, the Lord of the waters, spoke to the wind and the waves and they obeyed Him. Jesus walked over the waters as though they were dry land, and then drove the legions of demons in the bodies of pigs into the sea and drowned them. Finally, when all the powers of darkness rose up against the Lord of Creation, they could only continue the pattern. Though they sought to destroy the Lord of Life, they only succeeded in proving His point. And even when He had died and a Roman spear pierced His side, it was blood and water that flowed out. Of course. Of course. Of course there was blood in the water. Of course the waters were full of blood. That’s how it always is.
This is He who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. Donny and Anna, your son is already proof of God’s lovingkindness, already proof of the kind of God we serve. And here, today, God makes this claim public. God claims your son, as a child of the covenant, a child of water and blood. And that’s because that’s how God always is. God commands baptism so that we will not forget, and so that you might always remind your son. Do you remember that you were baptized, son? Do you remember that God splash water on your head? That you were cleansed by the blood of the lamb? That the Spirit hovered over you, to remake you? Remind your son of this, and when He strays assure him that God even gets the refugees. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will always come after him. There is no escape. It is only safe in the desolation of the cross.