"Close to, Round About, or Nearby"
from: Eric S Watterson
One Sunday, the minister was giving a sermon on baptism and in the course of his sermon he was illustrating his contention that baptism should take place by sprinkling and not by immersion.
He pointed out some instances in the Bible. He said that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River Jordan, it didn't mean in – it meant close to, round about, or nearby. And again when it says in the Bible that Philip baptized the eunuch in the river, it didn't mean in – it meant close to, round about, or nearby.
After the service, a man came up to the minister and told him it was a great sermon, one of the best he had ever heard, and that it had cleared up a great many mysteries he had encountered in the Bible.
"For instance," he said, "the story about Jonah getting swallowed by the whale has always bothered me. Now I know that Jonah wasn't really in the whale, but close to, round about, or nearby, swimming in the water.
"Then there is the story about the three young Hebrew boys who were thrown into the furious furnace, but were not burned. Now I see that they were not really in the fire, just close to, round about, or nearby, just keeping warm.
"But the hardest of all the stories for me to believe has always been the story of Daniel getting thrown into the lions' den. But now I see that he wasn't really in the lions' den, but close to, round about, or nearby, like at the zoo.
"The revealing of these mysteries has been a real comfort to me because I am a wicked man. Now I am gratified to know that I won't be in Hell, but close to, round about, or nearby. And next Sunday, I won't have to be in church, just close to, round about, or nearby. Thanks. You have really put my mind at ease."