Baby moses is not killed, despite the Pharoahs orders. He is placed in a water proof basket and “sailed” down the Nile. That infant moved into mystery itself: a whole new world.
Moses would later lead his people across the Red Sea, as God parts the waters to let the Israelites pass.
These two events are like book ends… Or portals, even. As an infant, the baby travels atop the water from his broken and fallen Jewish World and into the Egyptian one. As an adult, he travels across the place that the water had been, leading the Jews into a new world.
That second journey is a journey into both freedom and destiny. It is a moment of liberation, a precursor of a later journey into the water.
John the Baptizer leads people on a journey into freedom through the water, too. This journey is an individual one. It is one that even Jesus himself takes.
When Jesus is baptized, the Spirit of God comes back to the water, just as it was at the beginning. And just as the Spirit of God at the beginning of creation pronounced that the creation was good, when the Spirit of God returned to Jesus’ baptism, he announced that Jesus, too, was good.
This suggests that Jesus was returning the creation to the path it was meant for. Perhaps it even suggests that the entire span of history between the spirit’s visations to the waters was an aberration, a foot note, an irrelevancy.
We are called on to be baptized just as Jesus was baptized. And the bible says that when we are plunged into the water we are plunged into death. When we are raised up and out of the water we are raised into a new life.
The whole affair is (pardon the pun) drenched in mystery. But more than that, it reinforces the idea that the water is mystery itself. Death is a mystery for all of us. It is doubly mysterious that Jesus died and was returned to life. It is triply mysterious that somehow we participate in this too.
We go down into something which can not be expressed or explained. But we come out on the other side of it, able to illuminate it, at least, expected to live and testify to this new life; just as Jesus came up out of his own death, just as the Isrealites left their own slavery, walked through the parted red sea, and came out on their own path toward the promised land.
We have so much in common with those ancient Isrealites. Knuckleheads, tempted so often to return to our slavery, engaging in rampant idolatry, taking this idiotic and circular path but still headed toward that amazing Kingdom God promised us, a Kingdom in which He will reign.