As the old prophet Elijah pondered his last days on earth, he decided to visit the towns of Bethel and Jericho. He invited his servant, Elisha, to go along with him, and the pair set off for what I see as a “teaching journey.” After visiting both towns, they arrived at the banks of the Jordan River. Elijah took off his mantle—a wide, loose-fitting garment or gown—and smote the water with it. Supernaturally, the waters parted, and the two men crossed over on dry ground (see 2 Kings 2:8).
Why did Elijah insist on miraculously passing through the river? The Jordan was not a deep, wide river, and Scripture gives no evidence that it was swollen. And further, there were fifty strong, young prophets on the other side who could have built a raft for them in a matter of a few hours.
I believe Elijah sought to teach his successor that the miracle crossings of the past—from Moses, to Joshua, to the present day—were all ancient history. He wanted to challenge Elisha, as if to say: “When you start your own ministry, and you preach that God is a God of miracles, you have to testify of what He has done for you personally. I’m going to be gone soon, Elisha, so tomorrow when you return to this river, I want you to go back across the way you came. Believe God for the miraculous in your own life.”
Many of us don’t have faith to believe God for our own miracles today. We spend our time poring over the incredible wonders in Scripture, yet all along God wants to tell us, “I have something even better for you. I want to do miracles in your life—to change your home, fix your marriage, save your unsaved loved ones. You are going to face your own Red Sea, your own Jordan River, and I want to part those waters for you.”