Bath-time with kiddos can be hell. Sure, it can also be a playful end to an otherwise chaotic day, possibly even calming for that kid who refuses to go to sleep. But don’t let the parent kitsch fool you; the liminal space between dinner and story, when you simply ask them to wash up, it can be like Creed versus Drago (look it up).
The references throughout Scripture to being washed and made clean must go beyond the kitsch as well. This is likely why John the Baptist prefaced his baptismal “liturgy” with “you brood of vipers.” John knew the crowds had become so immersed in the rhythms of empire, the lures of power, and the temptations of acquisition that to undo such stench needed more than just a little water. The prophet from the wilderness also knew, if they were willing to share their coats, be generous with their resources, and see the humanity in those they passed by on military patrol, they would discover God’s dreams for the world breaking in through the One who would come after John. If they washed themselves of snake-ish deception, they would also find newness of life in this alternative movement called the kingdom of God. So don’t fight it, John said by the Jordan, turn towards and bathe in it.