As I read about Israel crossing the Jordan, the Beauty of the symbolism seems to warm even my flesh. Here is what I see, hiding, as it were, in the text.
- Priests – Those who follow Christ are considered a kingdom of priests.
- Ark of the Covenant – Gods presence, the seat of God on Earth.
- Time – Harvest when the waters leave the deeper banks, spreading over the ground
- Jordan – The Jordan separated lands promised to the people of God from the wilderness where they lived.
- Adam – A city named after the first man. Theologically sin entered humanity through Adam, and all life flows from Adam as does sin/separation.
- A Great Distance – This is a distance of some 50 km.
- Water cut off – There are aspects here which are hard to come up with anything but that the waters receded against gravity. I say this because I can not see the water simply damned in some way around Adam as the texts says the water “overflows all its banks”. If the water had been cut of the flow of the river would have dwindled to a trickle which is nothing like overflowing its bank. And if this was not a relatively quick withdraw, we are left with two rather comical impressions, neither of which I think would have been recorded as it is here.
- The priests move so slow as to stand on dry ground that snails could fly by, or
- The priest waded out into the Jordan, which was swollen with enough water to flood, and there, waited, in the swollen river for some relatively slow withdraw
- Stand Firm – As long as the feet of the priest were standing in the middle of the Jordan’s bed the waters stayed backed up and the people could cross on dry land.
The final picture: As the people of God; those with God’s laws written on their hearts; those people who are the temple of God; those who have been given the right to be called the children of God touch the water of separation/death, that the water of separation and death are are rolled back to the genesis of sin in Adam. God places no further remediation of sin than that roll back to the firstborn Adam. Before Adam there is no sin to be removed. This picture foreshadows salvation and remission of sins applied to those people who are possessed by God as well as showing how those same people can make easier paths for others passing into the land of promise.
Joshua 3:14 So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.