Let’s read 2 Kings 6:1-7. (How do we find this in the Bible? Start at the beginning: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, bingo! Now find chapter 6. That’s the big number 6 and we’re going to read verses 1-7, which are the small numbers mixed into the sentences.)

I love this story so much! Before we dive in, let’s set the scene. The Prophet Elisha has a small school where he teaches other people about God and how to work for God. Think about Sabbath school where you read stories about God, talk about how you can show others God’s love, or plan community outreach like collecting food for people in need. That’s what Elisha is doing and he was a great teacher full of God’s Spirit with so many students that they need a bigger school.

Elisha’s students convince him that they should build a larger school down by the Jordan River. Elisha agrees, so they pick up their tools and head to the river where there are plenty of trees to chop down and use for building. They get right to work. Swing, chop, swing, chop! The wood chips fly as the axe cuts deeper and deeper into the tree. One final chop and the tree will fall… But on the final swing, the iron axe head flies off the handle, soars through the air, and as if it were slow motion, people’s heads pivot to watch as it lands in the river water and sinks to the muddy bottom. Glub, glub, glub. 

“Oh no!” One of the students cries out to Elisha and explains that he had borrowed that axe. Have you ever lost or broken something that didn’t belong to you? Did you have to explain and apologize for what happened? Maybe pay for a replacement? It’s not fun, is it? You probably understand how this student felt watching the axe head sink.

Now look in your Bible at verse 6. No one goes splashing into the river to get the axe head; they don’t try to swim down deep and find it in the mud. Elisha steps in to help. Up until this point in the story, Elisha is called Elisha, but in verse 6, what is Elisha called? A man of God. God’s loving power is about to enter this story! Elisha cuts off a stick, throws it into the water, and the heavy metal iron axe head floats to the surface. What?! Can you picture it in your mind? Up out of the muddy and gunky Jordan River floats an axe head. And the story ends happily ever after. 

Seven simple Bible verses, but a beautiful story of a God who sees and cares about the little things. A God who uses people, animals and even inanimate objects in amazing ways to bring honor and glory to His name. Fast forward a few thousand years and Jesus gets baptized in the same Jordan River. Like that axe head, Jesus goes under the water, into the gunk, and rises up out if it demonstrating God’s victory over the gunk of this world.

Did you know that Jesus’s life has something else in common with the miracle of the floating axe head? Once the axe head floated, Elisha told the student to pick it up, so the student reached out and took the floating axe head. This student got to participate in the miracle! When you and I say yes to Jesus, we participate in the miracle of His life, death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-7). Jesus wants us to be a part of His story. He loves us too much to leave us in the gunk. I don’t know about you, but that’s good news worth sharing! 

Kelli Wasemiller is the elementary education superintendent and children’s ministries leader for the Dakota Conference.