Friday, June 15, 2018

EmmDev 2018-06-15 [Faith among grasshopper hearts] Timing


So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.      (Joshua3:14-17)
When we watch movies like "Mission Impossible" where the heroes plan their intricate capers, there's always that moment where they have to "synchronise their watches", because each person has a part to play and each part needs to play out with split-second timing.

There are a couple of elements to the crossing miracle:

  • There's a place called Adam (some 20 km upstream) where scholars note that as recently as 1927 the clay banks collapsed and the water stopped flowing for 20 hours.
  • There's the people and the priests packing up camp and gathering getting themselves together and starting walking towards the river. (And if you've ever been camping you know how frenetic and chaotic packing up becomes - and you hardly ever leave on time...!)
  • There's the unspecified distance between where they started walking from and the water's edge
  • There's the speed at which they walked.
  • There's the speed at which the water flowed and would slow down as the back pressure decreased.

This would require precise timing. If we had the data and a supercomputer we could work it out: If the people started walking at a certain time and covered a specified distance at a fixed speed then we'd know what time the the priests' feet would hit the river's edge. Working back from that time, if we had a good fluid dynamics engineer, we could figure out at what time we'd need to cut the water off upstream so that the riverbed would be dry at just the right time.

Of course we're assuming that the priests walked at a constant speed and that the water flowed at a constant speed (which would need a straight river course and a fairly constant gradient). None of these assumptions are true and so our supercomputer calculations would be very hit and miss.

But God times it perfectly!

Someone once said - "God isn't always there when I want Him, but He's always right on time!"

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