Jesus Gets Wet
His unusual baptism we remembered this past Sunday, soaked in the river alongside a multitude, then still dripping, a shout out from God – my beloved! But Jesus was wet with God from the beginning - nine miraculous floating months in Mary’s womb. For three years he seemed to hug the shore of the Sea of Galilee, hanging out with fishers, telling stories about abundant catches, sleeping in boats, calming waves and walking on water. Even at the inland dusty well, he and a Samaritan woman quenched each others’ thirsts with life changing water.
Jesus’ formative wet experience, his baptism by John in the River Jordan, is pictured in this 5th century mosaic on the dome of a small baptism building in Ravenna Italy. Like many Byzantine icons it depicts a trinity, but instead of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, it’s John, Jesus and the River Jordan.
Yes, that old guy on the left is how the local pagans depicted their river gods, complete with crab claw crown and river reed. From Old Man River’s jar at the far left flows the sacred baptizing water. The artist was probably reaching out to pagan converts to say, yes, your River God is here also in this baptistery, where you, like Jesus, will find new life in water.
Jesus has no clothes on! I saw this mosaic in 1999 with my then 12 year old daughter – we were both a little shocked. He’s not just naked, he’s young, beardless, a little like a chubby teen. He’s getting soaked not just in the deep waters, but from above - that descending Spirit dove, one author says, “is spraying lustral water from its beak.”
This is my beloved wet son.
At the Blue Theology Mission Station on the shores of Monterey Bay we celebrate all connections between things spiritual and things wet, with oceanside pilgrimages, beach service projects and deep immersion into God’s call to care for all creation.
Bluetheology.com. We are booking for 2018 youth and adult service trips and pilgrimages by the sea, and clergy renewal times. Thanks for your encouragement last week on my idea of compiling some of these weekly “Blue Theology Tide-ings” posts into a book. Stay tuned!