Have you noticed how often hymn writers use the Jordan River as a metaphor for transitions in the spiritual life? That may be because the Bible does the same.
The Jordan River usually flowed a hundred feet wide at the place across from Jericho where Israel crossed over into Canaan after the Exodus (Joshua 3:14–4:23). But because the Israelites crossed at flood stage, the river surged much wider and deeper.
- When the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the Jordan, the water ceased its flow 16 miles upstream.
- This left a stretch of dry land some 20 miles wide for the nation to cross en masse, perhaps several thousand abreast.
Joshua compared the miracle of the parting of the Jordan River with the miraculous parting of the Red Sea (Joshua 4:23). He linked the power of God that allowed them to enter Canaan with the power that freed them from Egypt.
This was a critical comparison. Why? The same grace that redeemed them from bondage led them home.
This also reflects our own spiritual lives.
The Same Grace in Every Place
The author of the Book of Hebrews compares entering Canaan with entering the rest God provides those who believe in Jesus Christ apart from works (Hebrews 4:1-10).
I find it fascinating that our deliverance as Christians from the bondage of sin and our entrance into God’s rest both stem from the same act of grace at the cross.
It’s the same grace in both places.
It’s the same from one end of our salvation to the other—from our election to our justification, through our daily sanctification to our eventual glorification.
God’s grace has provided the passage our sinful souls could never earn.
The Jordan River—A Crossover from Here to There
Thumb through any hymnal, and you may be surprised how often writers use crossing the Jordan River as a metaphor for entering heaven. Here’s one of my favorites:
In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river. —Fanny Crosby
What Joshua made sure to point out to Israel we should also remember.
The grace that saved us is the same grace that leads us home.