By: Ely Lagajino
But all things should be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 (ESV)
Fetching drinking water became one of the most challenging chores during our younger days while living in a coastal area. We hiked three kilometers for water. Climbing up the steep rocky hill and going down the river bank towards the well became our obstacle course. Returning home carrying 2 gallons of water each in breakable jars gave us the challenge.
The extra challenge happened when I was in grade four while my cousin was in grade two. We thought it would be easier for two persons carrying a big oil can tied at the center of a long horizontal bamboo pole, called “pingga”. One end I placed on my shoulder, the other end on my cousin’s, with the can of water dangling between us. But when we got home, we had no water since my cousin stumbled, we dropped the can and water spilled out.
Uncle taught us how to move correctly: “It’s like the boys scouts marching, you need to step in unison. Left step first then right step, striding with the same distance.”
Only when we perfected our movements and guarded our distances, we brought home a full can of drinking water.
Back at the Israelites camp near the Jordan, officers instructed everyone to get ready to march. As they followed the priests carrying the Ark they should maintain a “thousand yards” physical distancing in between (Joshua 3:4, NIV).
The Ark of the Covenant which symbolizes the presence of God’s power must be carried with special care. Only the priests and Levites were authorized to carry it with a minimum of four priests. It was their first time to pass a rocky route down the river.
Physical distancing was essential to give the priests enough space to maneuver and adjust their footsteps in unison while going down the rugged trail with the lowest elevation. The other reason is to keep unauthorized individuals from accidentally touching the Ark that would cause instant death. Imagine if more than half a million excited young people would rush down the river? A stampede might break the table of stones again.
Joshua 3; PP pp 529-530