Splash Again

Matthew 3: 13-17, My idea of how it almost certainly was not.

A tongue-in-cheek view of the same
as the previous post.

Yuck, got a mouthful.

He stood in water that was almost up to his waist, from time-to-time moaning about how long it was going to take for his scruffy clothes to dry out and how cold his feet were. He was in the middle a wide, relatively shallow part of a river where people from the nearby village came to collect water, wash, or to cross. He wished for the umpteenth time that the women washing clothes were doing it downstream of him and wondered why they bothered at all, in such murky water. He also briefly wondered why he hadn’t thought to stand upstream of them. He had been standing in the water so long now that his skin was wrinkling.

He must have ducked a hundred or more people so far that day, who had come to be baptised and with every one he’d had to flick his wet hair out of his eyes as he stood up again. He was getting a bit fed up repeating and hearing the same few phrases every few minutes: “Do you repent”. “Yes I repent” splash, “Next”. He was also looking with mild surprise at the colour of his own skin, where the river had washed away the layers of desert dirt.

He was starting to get a bit uneasy about a group of a dozen or so blokes on the bank, watching him, talking amongst themselves and occasionally pointing at him or gesturing in his direction, sometimes laughing. Once he even shouted at them to shut up or go away. In the end, one of them, who seemed like he might be the leader of the gang, detached himself from the group and came down to the river’s edge. Sitting down he started to take off his sandals but one of the others shouted at him to “keep them on, you don’t know what’s in there”. Another shouted Take off your robe, it’ll take hours to dry. You don’t want to sleep in damp clothes tonight”.

Eventually he waded in fully clothed, too embarrassed to strip down to his undies. By the time he reached the man ducking people under the water, he was already soaking wet from head to toe, having slipped over twice on his way to the middle of the river Jordan.

John turned back to the man in front of himself, for a moment ignoring the new guy, muttered in a perfunctory way the words he’d been using all day and pushed him over in the water. The guy came up spluttering and moaning “that’s not fair, I wasn’t ready. Is that it?”. John waved him away negligently and turned to the bloke that had watched him for so long, with his unruly mates.

Peering closely he said to the new guy “should I know you, you look kind of familiar?. “The guys over there”, he said pointing to his gang still on the bank “call me Jez but I’m Jesus, maybe you’ve heard of me. I’ve come all the way from Galilee, just so you can Baptise me.

“Me, baptise you! I dunno bout that, mate. Seems like it oughta be tother way around”. “Look, John, I’m here now so just do it anyway, or I’ve wasted my time coming here”.  “Ok Jez, can I call you Jez too, Here goes” and he shoved him over just like the others. “Don’t you ever wait till people are ready” Jesus said spluttering as he came up and spitting out a mouthful of the river Jordan. “Yuck that tasted horrible”.

AS Jesus waded back to the bank, falling over and baptising himself twice more on the way, the clouds in the sky overhead parted. Looking up, he muttered to himself “oh no, Dad was watching. I might have guessed he’d have to stick his oar in”. However a moment later the sun shone through the clouds and, as Jez climbed back up the river bank to his gang he said, “see Dad’ll dry my clothes so I don’t catch a cold”.

A moment later, Jesus said, “Oh hang on a mo, Dad’s up to summat” and they watched as an invisible hand pushed and poked and shoved the remaining clouds together, until they looked a bit like a big, grubby dove. Then a booming voice that, caught everyone by surprise and startled all the other birds around into flight, thundered out ” that’s my Boy and he done good.


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