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There is a Fountain

Exodus 24:6 &8
And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. … And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

During a soccer practice in my junior year of college, I had the ball in the corner of the field and juked a defender named Mike, thinking he’d go left and I’d break free to the right, but he collided head-first into my face and broke my nose instead. Now, I’m pretty queasy around blood in general, and this was no exception, but for some wild reason, probably because I felt pretty tough for having endured such a hit, I hung my heavily blood-stained practice shirt on my dorm-room wall that night and kept it up for the rest of the year. I realize I could’ve just washed the shirt ten times or thrown it out with the garbage, but it was a stain I was proud of. So I kept it as a trophy.

Friend, I wonder: how do the people here in Exodus 24 respond to this unusual and somewhat gruesome rite of passage? Do they feel a flush of baptismal joy as if John the Baptizer has just dunked them in the Jordan, or do they feel a flush of indignation that Moses would go this far, murmuring to themselves—“Well great—now my best shirt is ruined!” I wonder how many people closed their eyes and whispered prayers of dedication under this anointing splash and how many gagged and balked and wiped off the covenantal tide as fast as they could.

What about afterward though? When the ceremony was over, when they went back to their tents, did they frantically scrub their garments clean in hopes of wearing them as before? Did they throw them out with the garbage? Or did they hang up the blood-stained clothes in their bedroom, right above their bedposts, as an enduring trophy of God’s mercy? Was the blood something they shrugged off quickly or showed off for generations?

To unbelievers, redemption is a spoiling affair. But to believers, it’s a cleansing one. It all depends on how you interpret the blood.