The following letter was found in a baking powder can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across the Amargosa Desert:
“This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You’ll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller.” – Desert Pete
“P.S. Don’t go drinking up the water first. Prime the pump with it and you’ll get all you can hold.”
If you were a lonely traveler shuffling down that parched desert trail with your canteen bone dry, would you trust this guy, Desert Pete? For all you know he is a lunatic. What if it a mad hoax? There are no guarantees to what he claims is true. And what would motivate you to prime the pump with the water in the bottle, perhaps the only water available. But you understand the fact that old pumps have to be primed. It’s a gamble. A risk. An adventure. What do you do?
Joshua and the people of Israel had an obstacle in front of them (v1) – the river Jordan is between them and the Promised land. They are about to experience a miracle (v16) the water’s parting to let them through on dry land. Between the obstacle and the miracle is v2-15, which is all about priming the pump so they are ready for what the Lord will do.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus v2-4
The Israelites were commanded to follow the ark of covenant at a distance of 1000m, far enough that they could all see it – that they could all fix their eyes on it. The ark of the covenant was a gold covered wooden box containing three things – the stone tablets with the 10 commandments on them, a pot of Manna- the miraculous bread God provided and Aaron’s staff that budded miraculously. On top were 2 statues of cherubim and between the shekinah glory of God rested. It was the symbolic place of God’s presence on the earth. Jesus fulfilled that when he tabernacled among us (John 1:14). This following the ark is a picture of fixing our eyes on Jesus. Following his leading by the Spirit.
Consecrate yourselves v5
Ready yourselves for the Lord’s moving. Put to death any lingering sinful habits, confess your sin and be watchful for what God is about to do. Allow the Spirit to speak revelation to you of anything that displeases the Lord. Our hearts are deceitful, convincing us our sin is okay because of the circumstances – watch out for Achan’s sin in a few days time. Keep reading the Bible, and ask the Spirit to speak to you!
Step out in faith v13-17
As often happens in Scripture, the miracle actually happens when the Priest step out and put their feet in the Jordan. We need to step out in faith and obedience to what the Lord has said.
So how will you prime the pump today? Fix your eyes upon Jesus, consecrate yourself daily and step out in faith.
My favourite stepping out in faith story…
As she left a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, a woman was praying, “Lord, I’ll do anything for You. I’ll do anything. Just tell me what You want me to do, and I’ll do it.” In that moment she sensed something and realised, I’m supposed to turn left. It almost felt like a whim, but desperately wanting to obey God’s voice, the woman turned left. After driving for a little while, she felt as though she was supposed to turn right, so she did. Filled with anticipation, she wondered, Is God actually directing me to go do something right now? This is so exciting! Before she knew it the woman ended up right in front of a little convenience store, which she sensed was the place the Lord was bringing her. Once inside, she couldn’t wait to see how the Lord would direct her, but the only thing that kept coming to her mind was, Go over in front of the clerk and stand on your head. Pretty weird, right? How many of us would reach that point and say, “Okay, no, that’s not God,” and get in our car and drive home? The direction this woman was sensing seemed odd enough that she could have easily discounted it, although it wasn’t something immoral or unbiblical. She prayed, “Lord, are You sure?” Then she felt nothing, no confirmation. So many times, that’s the gentleness of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t force us to do anything. He’s not a bully, and He won’t shove us into doing what we’re unwilling to do. In that moment, this woman had a real choice to make. She said, “Okay.” It took her a little bit to build up the courage, and she hung around reading chip packages until everybody cleared out of the store. Then she ran up to the register and said, “Hey! Look what I can do!” There happened to be a pole right in front of the clerk, so she did a handstand against it. From her upside-down position, she saw him drop his head and shake it. She swung her legs down and thought,
Man, he thinks I’m crazy—a real freak! But she walked up to the register and saw that the clerk was actually crying, so she asked, “What’s the matter?” He told her, “About half an hour ago, I was sitting here working, and I prayed, ‘God, if You’re real, have somebody come in here and stand on their head.’” The clerk ended up giving his life to Christ as a result of this woman’s obedience to God’s voice, and he has attended the same church as she does ever since.
What will you do today having primed the pump?