He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Acts 9:18-19
"Throughout African-American culture, water symbolizes freedom, justice, and privilege," states Langston Hughes, an African-American poet, in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
Rivers--and water as such--play a part in the Bible. A river, dividing into four headstreams, flowed out of Eden. The Jordan, flowing from beyond the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, is mentioned often in the Bible; in it John baptized Jesus and many others. Saint Paul and Silas met Lydia, the first convert in Europe, and other women gathered for prayer at a riverside near Philippi. In a heavenly vision Saint John saw "the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal" (Revelation 22:1).
Water as such, whether it flows in rivers or is poured into a font when it is used for the sacrament of Holy Baptism, does more than symbolize "freedom, justice, and privilege." When connected with God's Word, as Jesus directs, it has the power to cleanse from sin, to grant freedom from the curse of the Law, to impart justice and other virtues of faith, to endow the baptized person, young or old, with the privilege of belonging to God's family with the right of inheritance guaranteed.
Water, with the Word, did all this for Saul the converted Pharisee, to whom Ananias of Damascus said, "What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away" (Acts 22:16).
Also your baptism and mine is a precious means of grace through which the Triune God grants a flood of blessings: "clothed ... with Christ" (Galatians 3:27), "forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38), "washed ... sanctified ... justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 6:11), and a "good conscience toward God" (1 Peter 3:21). Let the rivers, or plain, simple, tap water, remind you of this.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for the many blessings conveyed to me through my baptism. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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