CUZCO, Peru (BNC) — Missionary Barton Kizer posted on Facebook today that the work there witnessed “another river baptism.” Apparently, they have several locations for doing their immersions. This young lady, Coritza (photo), was baptized today, Barton said.
The photo of the river baptism was picturesque.
No command about location
Some people have said that baptisms have to be done in running (living) water, though there is no biblical commandment about location. In Jerusalem, numerous immersion tanks were fed by springs, and baptisms in the first century most certainly took place in them, but one might be hard pressed to consider them as having running water.
So any location that has enough water to immerse a person serves wonderfully. John the Immersor baptized in a certain spot in the Jordan River because the water was plentiful, John 3.23. The eunuch heard the gospel and the first body of water he came to was perfect for him, Acts 8.36. The text calls it “some water.”
Truth be told, the New Testament doesn’t give much attention as to where baptisms were performed. The important thing was that they be done.
Sometimes, a Challenge
For congregations that don’t have their own building, or for Christians not near a congregation when teaching, finding a place to baptize can be a challenge at times.
Soldiers have immersed their buddies in holes dug in the desert, covered with plastic, with just enough water to cover the body. One photo showed a soldier baptizing another in the scoop of an earth-mover. That works, too!
I baptized my oldest son, during a storm, in a whirlpool bath in São José dos Campos, Brazil. My father was baptized in a farm pond in Arkansas. In Mongolia recently, the teachers baptized their pupils in the hotel tub.
Often, converts are immersed in pools, ponds, tubs, tanks, drums, barrels, hospital whirlpools and any other vessel big enough to hold water and a person.
The Real Beauty of Baptism
Having said that, the beauty of a river or ocean immersion is often incomparable to one performed in a church baptistry. It’s hard to improve on the outdoors.
Often, photos from around the world show spectacular baptisms in beautiful places. Who doesn’t enjoy a memorable moment in an inspiring setting?
The real beauty of every baptism, however, is the knowledge that the sins of the convert are washed away and a soul is reborn and restored to the presence of God. No natural scenery, no matter how beautiful, can compare!
So let us be grateful that many servants like Barton Kizer are working to teach the gospel to the lost around the world, so that many “washings of the water by the Word” can happen, Ephesians 5.26.
And let’s do our part so that such beautiful moments can occur in any spot, wherever we are.