So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan.
So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
[Joshua 3:14-17 NKJV]
It is maybe an obvious thing to say that ‘still waters’ are not the same as ‘waters which are stood still’. Our song today (below) does not really express what we are talking about here, other than in its title, although it is a beautiful song nonetheless.
The difference is that ‘still waters’ represent a state of being, while ‘waters which are stood still’ show a turbulence which has been set at peace. We find ‘still waters’, but the Lord stills the unrest within us.
Our scripture today speaks of ‘the harvest’; the fulfilment of what our Lord is purposing. The Feast of Tabernacles is a place of harvest, of gathering in what has been sown and grown to fruition.
But we know from Revelation that we are priests and kings and our Lord is the Great High Priest and King of Kings; therefore He is the one to whom we must look for guidance — in Him we trust.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. [Revelation 1:5b-6 NKJV]
So, in the light of this truth, we see that in Joshua, the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant — the centre within the Holiest of All which is the dwelling place of the Spirit of the Most High God — to the edge of the overflowing Jordan River ... and the Spirit of the Living God stilled the overflowing waters as the priests stood in the midst of it.
And the people crossed over on dry land!
I am aware that I cannot do justice to the incredible and awe-inspiring truth of these words in Joshua. This picture happens within each of us whenever we allow Christ to be the centre of our being — when we allow Him to be in the midst of us and stills the raging waters, bringing peace.
We do not encounter the already still water, Jesus Christ stills the waters around us — they are in a heap very far away at Adam. Adam means ‘red earth’ — the natural man, and He consigns the turbulent waters; the unrest; the disquiet to another place far away, so that His priests — bearing His Spirit — may stand untouched, so that others may find the way!
It is just as we see in John’s Gospel chapter 20, verse 19 ... Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Whenever Jesus stands in the midst of us He stills the waters.
Still Waters — Kingdom Child
For one man who can introduce another to Jesus Christ by the way he lives and by the atmosphere of his life, there are a thousand who can only talk jargon about Him.