What an exciting day! I was a new pastor and I was going to baptize a young adult lady who had recently trusted Christ as Savior. This was to be my very first baptism. And, to make it even more exciting, this would be the first baptism for our small congregation in two years. I couldn’t wait for Sunday!
But, I had a big problem. Though the church had not baptized anyone in a couple of years, water had steadily dripped from the faucet which filled the baptistry. And, the baptistry was made out of sheet metal. Who makes a baptistry out of sheet metal? Sheet metal rusts! This had to be the work of a committee! The dripping faucet left the drain completely clogged and several inches of rusty water stagnating at the bottom.
I had to face this dilemma head on. On Saturday morning, before the next day’s baptism, I got into the baptistry and began to mop up the rusty water and remove it bucket load by exhausting bucket load. I removed as much rust as I could. Then, I filled the baptistry with water.
On Sunday morning, I prepared for the baptism in the still rusty water. We gave the new convert a tetanus shot (not really, but we should have!) and into the baptistry we went. Pieces of rust floated in the red stained water. I baptized her– under the water and back up. And, I realized God had just done a miracle. She had reddish colored hair and you could hardly see the rust sticking to her! Thank you, Lord!
The church was excited. The woman and her family were excited. I was excited. But my enthusiasm was tempered by my remaining problem. Somehow, I needed to get the water out of that baptistry with the drain clogged shut by rust. Oh my!
On Monday morning, I got up early to address the problem. Though I had never tried it, I’d heard of people siphoning gas and other things. Maybe it would work on a baptistry!
I got an old garden hose, put it in the water and got out all the air bubbles I could. Then, I plugged one end of it with my hand underwater and carried it up the baptistry steps, down the other side and out the side door of the church building. When I released my hand from the end of the hose– water poured out! When that finally ended, I mopped the remaining water out bucket load by exhausting bucket load.
This is what I did for the next several months. You could tell how effective our evangelistic efforts were by how green the grass was on that side of the building.
Eventually, I led a pool guy to the Lord– a pool guy!– who fixed our baptistry problems. What a great day that was.
Almost as great as the day of my first baptism in rusty water!