Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spies cross the Jordan

The three men arrived at the Jordan river just as the soft light of dawn touched the water. A flock of birds scattered in their path as they cantered around the final bend in the river, but the men were too busy studying the opposite bank to even notice.

The river was high. Caleb could tell by the water lapping around the shrubs and trees. It was also too fast for his liking, for the markers at the crossing barely stood against the steady flow.
They dismounted and undressed, preparing themselves for the treacherous swim across.

“Just wait a minute till we know its clear,” said Caleb scanning the surrounding landscape for signs of danger.

“What?” replied Phinehas. “Are you afraid? I thought you’d be the first to rush in.”

“Rush into a trap?” said Caleb, “This is the perfect place for one.” He knew he was right, but he could see by the look of surprise of Phinehas’ face he had to spell it out.

“Crossing the river makes us easy prey for an ambush. We can’t defend ourselves, and we can’t retreat quickly. Any fool hiding in the grass with a bow and arrow could pick us off.”

“So what are you going to do?” asked Salman.

“We’ll cross one at a time.”

“Great, me first,” said Phinehas pushing Caleb aside and stepping into the water. Young and muscular, he forged steadily through the current, keeping his leather satchel dry above his head.

Caleb watched him closely. For someone who grew up in the wilderness far from rivers or oceans, Phinehas moved quite quickly, but the further he crossed, the harder it became. He soon started drifting slowly downstream, further away from Caleb and Salman, and into the deadly clutches of panic.

“Keep going Phinehas!” yelled Caleb, “Don’t turn back. You can do it.”

“Come on Phinehas,” yelled Salman as he started to follow him down the river bank.

“Salman, stay here with the horses,” shouted Caleb, “He’ll make it.”

“How do you know?” asked Salman.

“I know. Just believe,” he replied with steadying calm.

They watched as Phinehas barely kept his head above water. He couldn’t possibly keep his satchel dry, but it’s buoyancy was keeping him afloat. He was going to make it, just as Caleb expected.

“Well it’s now or never.” Caleb through off his tunic off and stepped into the river in nothing but his undergarments. The water was cold and his body stiff and sore. Did he have the strength to swim across the fast moving swollen waters? Time would tell.

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