When the gold and copper mine far north of Chile caved in, all 33 miners thought they were doomed already. About 700,000 tons of rock blocked their way out. “Descending for 4 miles (7 kilometers) below the Atacama desert, the mine has been giving up copper and gold since 1885, leaving it honeycombed and unstable. The miners said it felt like an earthquake when the shaft finally collapsed above them, filling the lower reaches of the mine with suffocating dust. It took hours before they could even begin to see.” (Source: Yahoo! News) Knowing that they were in for a long haul, shift foreman Luis Urzua strictly rationed their 48-hour food supply, stretching it to last as long as possible. “They only had 10 cans of tuna to share… the tuna amounted to about half a capful from the top of a soda bottle — and that the only water they could drink tasted of oil.” (Ibid) For 16 days the miners thought people on the surface have finally given up on them. “But rescuers found them 17 days later with a bore hole the width of a grapefruit. That tiny hole became an umbilical cord used to pass hydration gels, water and food to keep them alive”. (Ibid) The miners endured waiting in the dark, sauna-hot tunnel for another 52 days while rescuers bore an escape shaft through more than 2,000 feet of rock. No effort and expense were spared.
Then last Wednesday, October 13, they lowered down a metal capsule just a bit wider than a man’s shoulders. “It took 24 hours to pull out the 33 miners and six rescuers who had gone down the escape shaft to help the men get out.” (ibid) It was a very touching moment as the international media broadcast images of their reunion with their families worldwide. Someone commented, “It was wrong to say there were 33 people down there. There were actually 34 of them. God was with them.”
It was a great rescue, no doubt about it. B
t there’s an even greater rescue. Two thousand years ago, our Lord Jesus Christ became man, went down from heaven to earth, to rescue us from eternal doom. Sin blocked our access to God. We cannot do anything to save ourselves. But God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32a, ESV). Jesus rescued us by dying on a cross for our sins. He did not go down to merely show the way up to heaven. He is the way Himself (John 14:6).
Brethren, Jesus is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).