Ruth and I were taking a casual stroll along the river the other day and I came across a plaque with a message that caught my attention.
“The Civil War spilled into the Rappahannock valley in the spring of 1862. While the main armies campaigned on the Virginia Peninsula, east of Richmond, a Federal force occupied Falmouth, across the river in Stafford County. The arrival of the Union army on April 18th caused an immediate stir. While most white residents reacted with dismay, many slaves saw opportunity in the resulting chaos. A slave named John Washington made his way to Ficklen’s Mill. On the banks of the Rappahannock, he observed soldiers wearing Union blue on the opposite shore of the Rappahannock River.
Washington approached the riverbank and the Federal pickets rowed over in a boat. Washington took the fateful step of crossing the river with them to freedom. Mr. Washington recognized the only thing separating him from freedom was a body of water. All he needed was a means to cross the water. The Union soldiers gave him access to freedom by means of a boat.
In a spiritual sense we all stood on the banks of a great chasm that separated us from freedom and all we need was a means of crossing over the chasm. Jesus is our answer. When He died on the cross, he spawned the chasm and simply says, “come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” All we must do is heed the call.